Nothing says Christmas like Free Parking!

The City of Oakland will offer free parking every Saturday between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, plus Plaid Friday which is November 28, 2014. . . .

In collaboration with Oakland Grown and the Oakland Merchants Leadership Forum, the free parking is a key element of the 2014 “Shop Oakland Grown for the Holidays” campaign that highlights the wide range of shopping options in 40 neighborhood districts citywide while underscoring the importance of keeping shopping dollars local.

Free parking is a “key element” of highlighting shopping options? And this program is in collaboration with Oakland Grown, an organization that claims to be committed to Oakland’s “local economy, social well being, and unique sense of place.”

Free parking does not help a local economy, social well being, or unique sense of place. Oakland grown is a program of the Sustainable Business Alliance, but what’s sustainable about encouraging people to drive in increasingly dense urban areas?

Maybe the City of Oakland could add a rotating image of a parking lot to its website header? Instead of (soon not to be) Mayor Quan checking out the upcoming shows at The Fox, an 86 year-old Oakland landmark that actually does create a unique sense of place, we could have Lady Q hanging out in the Raiders parking lot*!

francisco-grajales-oakland-website

vs.

francisco-grajales-oakland-free-parking-vision

*To be fair, parking of that fine Raiders quality ain’t free, it costs $35. Also, the source of that image talks about how much money there is to be made from recycling all of the Miller Light cans that are left behind, and recycling is a sustainability practice, right?

Finally, though what we’re talking about in Oakland ain’t exactly parking craters, here’s some food for thought regarding what could happen if we prioritize spaces for cars over spaces for people:

Parking Craters: Scourge of American Downtowns from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.