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Small Change Arguments, When Big Changes are Needed

It's the parking that makes Thayer lively, when you really think
about it.
Don't fling a coin at a beggar, make real change. That's my message to Thayer Street

(of course, don't tell the Avon Cinema's owner, the Dulgarians, because they're upset about coin flinging-- to parking meters at least-- and beggars).

I've probably been among the chief rabble-rousers against the Avon Cinema's obnoxious anti-parking meter campaign. There are some legitimate complaints that can be made about the specifics of the parking meters in the city, but Avon's owners the Dulgarian brothers have taken the campaign too far.

I've started bringing my complaints to the attention of the @ThayerStreetPVD account, because I think the merchant district should be aware that it's anchor theater is turning off customers left and right.

Thayer Street's twitter account has since started posting positive stuff about bikes and transit. Stuff like this:
I want to say, for the record, that I appreciate the kindly tone. Thayer Street is not Avon Theater, and while I think customers should still appeal to the merchants' association as a way of putting pressure on Avon to calm-it-down, they shouldn't stand directly responsible for the Dulgarians' antics.

But I also want to use this as a conversation piece to show how tokenizing the efforts around bikes are on Thayer.  I have the bike benefits sticker and use it from time to time. It saves me 10% off a coffee, perhaps, which is $0.20. It's less than the twelve minutes charge on a parking meter (admittedly, the benefit can be somewhat larger on some items-- but, for instance, I don't necessarily want a free cookie at Subway. I'm a goddamned adult!).

What's also annoying about the bike benefits is that I can't get them as a pedestrian. Presumably (at least the way I calculate it in my head) the bike benefits are a quiet way of thanking us for not taking up parking, or not polluting. The many times I take the bus or walk to Thayer, I get no benefit.

I'm also annoyed because, well, this:
Thayer Merchants' Association actively sought the demolition of seven multifamily houses for a "temporary" (we'll see) parking lot on Brook Street. This is a way bigger move against bikes, walking and transit than any of the small symbolic stuff it's done to supposedly promote biking.

The way you reward cyclists is not with a dumb sticker on one's helmet (don't get me started. . . ) that one has to remember in order to get the (very small) benefit. The way proper rewards for not using a car are given out is by charging the market price for parking, not tearing down the fabric of the neighborhood to create more parking, and creating great places to bike.

Thayer Street, by the way, is not a great place to bike. It's a mediocre place to bike that seems okay as a biking location because it is surrounded by a city with no bike infrastructure whatsoever.

If you ask me, Thayer Street shouldn't have any parking, save for delivery vehicles. It should be Church Street, Burlington:


I'm joining many people who have said they will not patronize the Avon Theater until it stops this dumb anti-meter campaign. I call on the Thayer Street Merchants to get some control over the Avon, lest the effect spill out across the street. And Thayer Street's businesses need to stop being anti-student and start being pro-transit, pro-biking, and pro-walking in ways that are less tokenizing. You want to impress me with how urbanist you are? Stop the dumb anti-meter campaign, and start pushing hard for more frequent transit schedules and protected bike lanes on streets like Waterman and Angell. 

Until then, it's just meaningless Twitter fluff.

~~~~

@ThayerStreetPVD would like me to correct a small error in the article:
Incidentally, the comments I made about the Thayer Merchants Association backing the demolition of housing were factually correct, it's just that the Twitter account isn't the merchants.

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