Friday, April 11, 2014

Minimum parking requirements yah or nay.

This is my personal view of the situation. Please do not regard as official advice.

Today there has been a controversial topic facing municipalities is whether they should require all builders and developers adhere to minimum standards for amount of parking available when building any residences, businesses, and public venues where people as well as their vehicles will gather. It can be measured by amount of vehicles that can fit street curbside beside the property it self as well as spots available for parking within the property itself.

Minimum parking requirements had been codified into US cities on a city by city bases then eventually cities in European countries follow suit. Around late 80s and 90s many Asian cities with the booming popularity of car ownership along with a similar rise in building construction boom started requiring minimum parking standards for new buildings built there as well.

Though minimum parking while it had been a boon for property owners and visitors with cars it also had made enemies as well. Those who are for public transportation and alternatives to driving the car they would state that minimum parking requirements make it difficult for users that walk, bike, or use transit to access property as large amount of land would need to be dedicated for parking making walking difficult and far. Available Parking also discourages people from using transit as well causing any new transit projects to rapidly lose revenue support. Minimum parking requirements also prevent many low income housing from being built as with land prices so high its very expensive to either buy land to allocate for parking which might not even be possible in built dense regions or build expensive parking structures either alongside or underground to meet the requirements. Many low income families depend on public transportation and cannot afford their own vehicles therefore making the expensive garage a waste of money. In some cases cities have reduced if not eliminated minimum parking requirements. For example cities like San Francisco had changed its minimum parking requirements to a maximum parking requirement to encourage transit oriented development.

Though minimum parking also has its benefits for cities and those who are in the city as well. All those vehicles entering the city would need some where to go. They ultimately have to be parked some where. Minimum parking reduces vehicle related crime(car breakins, car stealing), it also reduces residents or visitors likelyhood to be a victim of crime walking long distance to and from their cars, as well as rowdy visitors who might park in a neighborhood far away from a residence, bar, party, or ballgame due to lack of nearby parking, and loiter and cause problems in the neighborhood which can be a pain for a municipality as well as nearby residents to deal with. It also makes it safe for those who are ill, handicapped or otherwise mobility limietd, or the elderly from dangers of falling or being hit by vehicles when walking to and from their cars particularly in walking and transit unfriendly neighborhoods with high speed traffic. Also there would be less complaints from neighbors of blocked driveways and rowdy individuals who enter the neighborhood to search for parking or improper use of private parking areas taking precious parking away from customers. Cities would also have to deal with less illegally parked cars which would be an issue when parking gets to tight as well as reduce the likely hood of hindrance of emergency services in narrow areas.

While there are minimum parking requirements in practice it seems like there is not much enforcement on how it would be restricted by the property manager after its built. This is particularly true in denser portions of cities, i.e  I.e while multi family housing may require two parking spaces per 2 bedroom unit the ordinance is not clear whether the property manager of the apartment/condo to save them for such apartment. I.e if a owner/renter did not have a car at the beginning of ownership or lease but bought a car later is he/she entitled to that space? What happens when the carless owner/renter moves away and another family with two cars move in? Should the landowner be required to evict the extra cars of another family out of parking spaces in order to accommodate the new owners/renters cars?  It seems like many complexes don't guarantee parking despite what the ordinances or buildings code says in that locality. Its not uncommon for apartment or condo owners to change convert parking for other uses or to reserve it for other uses. There are also often cases where visitor parking had been designated according to code when the complex received its permit but had been removed or converted to resident as multi car residents demand more parking. In this case should tenants or homeowners assert their rights to the parking they are entitled to?

Also  if parking is entitled if the land owner tows cars for any reason should we legally hold the landowner responsible for the cost of towing as the contract entitles the car owner to park there.

Minimum parking requirements should be reexamined in their applicability and friendlyness to transit, residents, and visitors. I wonder minimum parking requirements yay or nay?

Please regard this at opinion only. Not professional news article or advice.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The sorry state of San Jose streets and creeks. Bag ban fail

March 2 after a major rainstorm. One of the few since the drought see how much garbage had been left behind many others had been washed towards the bay and ocean. After two years of inplementing the once toughest bag ban/fee ordinance at that time in the state and maybe the nation I can safely say the ordinance is to blame for making San Jose the trashiest city in CA if not the country. Not even The greater LA metropolitan area come close of being as trashed as SJ despite having a larger and more diverse population and having a trashy polluted reputation. Most of the 80 incorporated areas in LA county have no bag or polystyrene restrictions at all. I noticed most of the trash blight issues are due to spills from properly disposed trash not litterbugs and grocery bags are the best instrument to control such spills an spreading of garbage of all sorts. Most plastic film found on the ground any where in the country bag ban or not are the so called protective bags that wrap products. Most residents reuse grocery bags which is the best tool to wrap these securely in packs. When bags are banned in more and more cities they often have to turn to less reliable bags(cheap thin bin liners, or hard to secure large glade bin liners  to contain such garbage often resulting in spills during garbage collection or on windy days. If the goal of banning the bag is to protect the bay this shows it had exactly the opposite effect with dire consequences. More marine life are going to be killed with the greater spread of loose plastic film and other harmful garbage now that it's harder to secure to keep from flying apart.

Here are some pictures I took on March, 2, 2014 along Coyote creek trail. This is next to Tully rd and library
Despite the sign with a strong message prohibiting dumpling garbage surround it.
Coyote creek by the Tully Rd underpass almost like a landfill.
This kind of plastic is far more commonly found on the ground almost anywhere. No bag ban or polystyrene ban would do anything about this.
Coyote creek beneath Tully Road. Almost like a waste dump. Comparably the creek underpasses in other cities are pretty much spotless.
How does the bag ban make water ways cleaner or help meet water trash reduction goals when the rest of that garbage continue to flood into the waterways? Especially now that the best weapon against loose garbage of all types had been banned.
Bag bans does not control this kind of plastic which litter the landscape hundreds of times more often than grocery bags.

A mountain of garbage on the other (west) side of coyote creek banks.
A broader look of the bank.
More view towards the creek. Lots of garbage.
Stray bin liner. The truth is bin liners whether the thin roll ones or the large thick ones with ties don't secure garbage as well as traditional grocery bags so they fall apart scattering their contents and fly away.
 Thick "reusable" plastic bag, the kind officially exempt from the ban in San Jose. Though I find as with bin liners these when used to contain garbage they are hard to tie up. Therefore as with bin liners garbage can easily spill as the knot comes loose easily. 
 Overflowing garbage can on Coyote creek trail just south of Tully rd. At least some people are smart to reuse plastic bags to keep garbage from blowing away.
West Bank of Coyote creek trail just west of Tully community branch library.
The below picture is take on Tuers rd. Just east of Coyote Creek trail and Los Logos golf course.
Good evidence of garbage spill. Though this retail plastic bag, the first and only one I seen all this time prevented the garbage inside which would contain many environmentally toxic items including pieces of plastic from spilling. The bag is a hero protector of the environment in this case. Though Kiddos for the resident who used it tightly wrap their trash. I bet he shopped outside San Jose after the ban took effect for these "hero" bags. What we can learn is that while no garbage truck can be spill proof but wrapped garbage beats unwrapped when it comes time to clean up the mess and most importantly bags are Heros and not villains when it comes to protecting the environment and our landscape from blight.
A farther view of the scene shows other garbage spilled on the side of the road. Prime evidence of a trash truck spill on this spot between Tuers rd and Pusateri way. The hero bag I mentioned earlier done a great job to prevent a bigger mess in this scenario.
Below are the pictures taken on Coyote creek trail by the Yerba Buena Rd. underpass
While not as bad as around the Tully rd. underpass there are still plenty of litter scattered about in the creek area. 
Stray plastic packaging next to creek
Close up view.
View from Coyote creek trail a half mile just north of Yerba Buena Ave. overpass many dumped furniture in the creek.

The following pictures are taken on Senter Rd just south of Sylvandale ave on the east sidewalk. Another scene of garbage spill.
Here is another one of those plastic film often used as excuses to push bag bans across cities though in reality bans would not reduce these as they are various types of plastic film not store checkout  bags and banning them is not possible at the city level.  
Looking south on the east sidewalk on Senter rd.

In addition to pictures
I have video images of all the areas I been to proving date, time, and gps coordinates.

San Jose is a great testing ground for such an ordinance as the city covers a large area and have a wide range of demographics and having the toughest ban. While some call this a successful program. These pictures explain the raw truth which the media usually covers up. Would you want your city to turn into another San Jose?

Is the San Jose's pioneer bag ordinance a great idea for your city 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

False plastic bags, what many bag ban proponents call plastic bag pollution are not plastic bags at all. Plastic bags best tool in preventing garbage spill messes

Murillo/Norwood/Mt Pleasant road Intersection

Opposite corner

That might look like a plastic bag but

Its a piece of clothing

This may look like a plastic bag

But it is a piece of envelope wrapping

Garbage scattered on the street on Murillo Ave.

Plastic glad wrap are seen far more often than plastic grocery bags.

This is the only plastic retail bag in the group. Though it has successfully contained quite a bit of garbage which would otherwise had scattered about.

Loose garbage including pieces of plastic wrapping would utlimately end up in the bay. They could had easily been prevented from spreading about by a simple reused plastic shopping bag.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Trashed quiet neighborhood suggest a trash truck spill issue in San Jose. The issue seems to disappear outside San Jose's borders. Product bans would not solve anything

An issue I find unique to within the official borders of San Jose and not other cities.

Even in where I live which is up the hill in a rather secluded neighborhood trash problems on the streets and in empty voids are still rampant.

garbage along the curb of Springbrook Ave between Murillo ave and Slopeview Drive. 
Close up view of garbage beside north curb at Springbrook Ave.  between Murillo Ave. and Slopeview Dr. 

Random piece of garbage in the middle of Springbrook Ave

pieces of garbage on Springbrook Ave across from Springbrook Ct. which is within 1000 ft of murillo Ave.

pieces of paper containers on Springbrook Ct. 

A random cup at the end of Springbrook Ave.

Murillo Ave north of Springbrook Ave. and south of Slopeview ave. abandoned table  beside sound wall. 

tissue paper within pile of trash. 

Murillo Ave between Springbrook Ave and Slopeview Piece of paper and a water bottle

First polystyrene container I seen in this journey

Newspaper bag, these litter the landscape but are not banned.

Food packing on the ground on Murillo Ave north of Slopeview Ave. 

two protective or bin liner type plastic bag I strongly believe it fell off garbage truck

Another bin liner type plastic bag

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This same kind of cup a noodle bowl has been found on the crest of slopeview as  well this definitely has  came from garage trucks