Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien is maddening, not just because he looks at everything through a far Leftist ideology, but because that is what makes him so inconsistent and nonsensical.
In a recent interview on KUOW, O’Brien hysterically railed against housing developments that build parking spots. He whined: “Why should we as a city say ‘You have to build parking even if people don’t want it…’ because what that means is, we’re subsidizing parking, and if we really want to be that city that addresses our climate needs, we can no longer be subsidizing parking.”
Oh, wow. There’s a lot to analyze with this silly comment.
First: Mike O’Brien is implying a whopper of a lie. Seattle is in desperate need of parking both in or near housing. We’ve been routinely told that a huge part of traffic congestion in parts of the city is due to drivers hunting, unsuccessfully, for parking spots. There’s virtually no parking around transit centers, which is why Councilmember Rob Johnson is looking for solutions. O’Brien doesn’t know this because he’s a rich white cisgendered straight dude with privilege. Those of us who live in apartments in Seattle are spending up to nearly $300 a month just to park. That price is high due to something O’Brien never understood: supply and demand. There’s a lack of supply and a high demand.
Second: He ignores that people want parking, but let’s live in his dream world where no one wants parking because no one drives. His argument is that we shouldn’t build expensive things that people don’t want. Great. I mostly agree with that. But this is the guy who wasted over 1 million on a bike share program few used and even fewer wanted. He supports building interconnected bike lanes, taking lanes away from cars and transit, that go almost entirely unused and cause more traffic while the bike commuting continues to decline. It’d be great if O’Brien’s logic extended to his bike riding hobby.
Third: Mike O’Brien’s not even really concerned with the economic argument he so poorly makes, which explains why it’s so weak. He’s really only taking an extremist environmentalist position (and yes, he’s an extremist — if it were up to him, there’d be no cars on our road). He’s anti-car because of the environmental toll cars can take (except taxi cabs; those are the right kinds of cars because they’re supported by the union he services in order to stay in power).