Saturday, December 2

I Guess Homeless in Park and Ride Would Fill the Lots

There's a Park and Ride lot over on Monument by Craig Airport and Blue Sky Golf. Most people don't know the Park and Ride exists and nobody has used it in the six years I've been here. Maybe for Jags games. So basically, it's an empty parking lot for about 350 days of the year, living on as a reminder that we don't have a usable bus system that takes people where they want to go in an efficient manner.

For big cities with employment downtown, buses can be useful. You can maybe avoid traffic in special bus lanes, and you can avoid parking. However, nobody really wants to take the bus. In Jacksonville, which is way more spread out than other cities, literally no one DOES take the bus. Especially people with other resources. 

I'm sure all of our park and ride lots were created with a good intent: get people out of their cars and conserve downtown parking, all while polluting less. It might work in other cities, or it might work if we as a community provided an incentive (like cash) to workers who use the bus. Since buses and dangerous autonomous vehicles aren't going to catch on in Jax, let's just re-purpose some of the facilities. In Milwaukee, authorities have been trying to remove the homeless from the park and ride camp, but I kind of think it might work here. 

There was this one guy who was living in Ed Austin Park for three years. He was creepy because he was in a white van and kids are all over the park. I contacted the police, but I guess they were too busy protecting the Wawa parking lot, or maybe there's no ordinance against living in your van in a park next to the playset. That guy would have been better off in a park and ride lot. Kids don't hang out in empty parking lots. In fact, nobody hangs out there. And when several homeless people with cars hang out together, they become a community, and they can benefit from sharing resources (like barrel fires when it's cold). 

Mostly, I just want to be able to keep an eye on all the homeless folks. I'm not saying I want to actually see them or interact with them. I just want them to be in one place rather than in the woods next to my neighborhood playset. I guess leaders in downtown want to cage them inside a fence somewhere, which is admirable in a concentration camp kind of way, but I figured setting them up with some barely-running cars in never-used parking lots is just as good as prison camps downtown. Set up a hose and a usb charger maybe. 

As a bonus, maybe Jacksonville can get some federal transportation funding because our park and ride lots are finally being used. 

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