A “sophisticated”[i] argument

10 11 2009

Because of the expected wave of street-snarling traffic, the retailer Target demands the garage as a condition of moving to Washington DC .  So the city builds a parking structure in Columbia Heights with $40 million of taxpayers’ money.  But the expected hordes of drivers never materializes.  “The concept is that in a city like ours, with so much transit and so many transportation choices, demand for parking is on a glide-path downward,” said Harriet Tregoning, director of the District’s Office of Planning. “It’s become more the fashion not to get in your car.”   Now the lot is losing money, costing the city some $100,000 per month.

This thusly is evidence that, despite being so heavily subsidized throughout America, nobody is driving anymore and building parking lots is a bad investment.  And so cities would be better off if instead they invested in multi-modal transportation.

[i] “Sophisticated” is a Greek-derived word that means deceptively attractive and, when applied to rhetoric, it transforms into what is called sophistry, i.e. subtly deceptive reasoning or deceitful argumentation apparently plausible in form but actually invalid. A person who employs such rhetoric is called a Sophist.  And unfortunately many so-called transportation wonks can be considered one.  The above argument is an example of how it works.[ii]

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2 responses

20 11 2009
Richard Layman

FWIW, I was one of the voices pointing out this was likely a mistake, back in 2004 when it was first proposed.

20 11 2009
placemakinginstitute

What the heck does FWIW mean?! Anything else goofy-ish happening up your way along the lines of current events you think we here at The Placemaking Institute would be interested? We’re really bummed that there’s a very good chance we’re unable to take in “House of Cars” at the National Building Museum…

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