Re: “Paid parking is coming to one of Tacoma’s most popular destinations,” (TNT, 2/13).
Few overpasses are as infamous as the ones over Southern State Parkway in New York. Robert Moses, the master planner of New York City, designed them with a low clearance so that they can stop poor (non-white) people riding buses from the city to Jones Beach.
Even now, the overpasses stand as monuments of inequality in urban planning.
Tacoma is retrofitting its own symbol of inequality. Loren Cohen, the developer of Point Ruston, has recently announced the end to free parking.
Since there are currently no reasonable public transportation options, the $2 hourly parking fee becomes a de facto admission charge for the waterfront.
In spirit, if not in letter, this fee breaks the promise that was implicit in Point Ruston’s master development plan, which touts its publicly accessible spaces.
A space that is truly accessible to the public cannot discriminate. This parking fee effectively keeps the waterfront for the haves, and keeps out the have-nots.
Although it lacks the physical presence of Moses’s overpasses, Cohen’s parking fee nonetheless does the same work. Even those of us who can afford $2 an hour ought to reject this inequality.