Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Driving less: city employee division

I finally saw a Parking Enforcement Officer—meter maid—riding a bike instead of one of those little three wheeled Cushmans. Now this is great, but let’s get more of the city employees to agree to not use cars and other motor vehicles. There is one sure way of making that happen: pay them.

The Parking Enforcement Officer that chooses to ride a bike rather than drive a Cushman or other motor vehicle, they should get a bonus at the end of the year. I would think that two thousand dollars would be a nice number. The bonus has to be high enough to amount to something and not so high as to break the city’s bank.

Are there other examples where city employees could forego the use of vehicles? You bet.

Out on Aurora, the city has posted two old-fashioned beat cops, walking between 85th and 95th. These cops drive over from the cop shop a few miles away at the beginning of their shifts, park the car and then walk their beats. They could catch a ride from any of the dozens of cops leaving at the same time and get another ride back at the end of the shift. (There is the added bonus that by not using a cop car to go a mile in each direction, the city would save about five thousand a year on insurance.)

Speaking of cops, the Seattle Center security boys have a cop car of their own. From the middle of the Center to the edge is about 250 yards. Why they need a car of their own is anyone’s guess. My guess? It keeps them warm in the winter.

If I see another landscaping truck driving around the Seattle Center grounds with a single garbage can in it, I am going to scream.

I would bet if you gave out Metro passes, a few judicious taxi charges—for those times when the bus just won’t do—and that two thousand dollar bonus, I bet we could really see some significant reductions in the number of vehicles driven.

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