Portland city commissioner (as city councilmen are called in that Oregon city) Steve Novick has never been one to respect the limits of his office - or recognize that it has any limits at all. Since being elected just over a year ago, Novick has used his minor public position to 1) assail DirecTV for automatically enrolling him in NFL Sunday ticket (the horror, the horror); 2) declare a “war on chairs”; 3) and demand that the Oregonian newspaper alter its publication schedule.
Now the commissioner is using his perch to lecture the people of Portland about their driving and walking habits. He’s launched a new campaign, dubbed, “Don’t Circle the Block: Park & Walk!” urging people to park without bothering to look for an ideal spot.
“When we circle the block searching for a curbside parking space, we create traffic congestion and air pollution,” Novick says. And, to be sure, the commissioner may have a point– one pioneering study has found that some 30 percent of congestion in urban centers is caused by motorists searching for a place to park. An obvious solution to this problem would be to increase the supply of parking in congested areas. But, in fact, Portland has taken the exact opposite tack, and has instead been removing parking spaces throughout its urban core. Surely commissioner Novick could do something about that – but that would require him to actually serve his constituents, rather than simply hector them.