Here’s a rant I promised a little while back:
About a week ago, Sarah and I thought we might try to go for a little hike. Seeing as how Bay Area denizens love the outdoors, finding a suitable venue for such an activity is usually, ahem, a walk in the park. Sarah did a little research and came up with a hike that seemed to have a ton of potential. An easy six-miler through the redwoods around Phoenix Lake in Marin County.
When we got there, seeing as how it was the day after Christmas (a Saturday), the small parking lot at the end of the road was full. We waited a minute or two for somebody to leave before deciding to try our luck on the streets of Ross, CA. The parking lot was at the end of a long, narrow street through the park, so we had to backtrack a bit just to get to the adjoining neighborhood. Once there, however, we were greeted with “No Parking Any Time” signs–one about every ten feet. We tried a couple of side roads, but they were no better. The kind, welcoming citizens of Ross really don’t want you to park in front of their houses.
The first legitimate parking spot we found–about two miles from the trailhead–was decorated with the sign pictured above. It reads: “Fuck you for wanting to visit our town and enjoy the beautiful, neighboring parks.” We left. Pissed.
Now… I can understand certain neighborhoods wanting to keep things calm. If I lived next to the Oakland Coliseum, I wouldn’t want a bunch of crazy Raiders fans trashing my street before/after every game. But this is, in my opinion, ridiculous. Most of the streets leading up to the park (as this Google street view
shows–note the sign on the left) are wide boulevards with plenty of parking potential on either side. These folks just don’t want you blocking the street view of their mansion.
But what really gets in my craw is the fact that these signs are (I think it’s pretty obvious) geared directly at hikers, walkers, joggers, and other outdoor enthusiasts (a far cry from the tailgating hordes of a Raiders game). People that go hiking around a lake in the woods are more likely to clean up any trash they see than to make noise and dirty up the place. The fact that the sign above prohibits parking on “Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays” (times when, in other words, you might be able to go out and enjoy a hike) is a slap in the face.
This is speculation, but I think it’s safe to assume that residents pushed enough money at the local government to–in essence–buy the parkland that surrounds their houses. I’ll admit that I don’t know the details of this particular neighborhood, but it seems that this is simply a way for wealthy jerks to have their cake (by getting a big back yard for themselves by preventing the public from using the parks) and eating it too (“Look at what a great town we are! Devoting all this space to public parks!”). I think that getting outside and enjoying a hike is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your community. So when this sort of loophole threatens the public’s health/sanity, I get very upset.
Blogs were built for ranting, after all! (On the plus side, I’m all caught up with my daily photos!)