New York


stackable parking in ManhattanI spent a couple of days in Manhattan this week for the New York Auto Show some interesting stuff.  For a city that claims to be as progressive as Ann Arbor they sure have missed the boat when it comes to parking.  As everyone in the area knows downtown parking is at premium.  Unfortunately the choice to build parking structures on small footprints of land like the one at Fourth and Washington is somewhat counterproductive.  The space taken up by ramps so that cars can get in and out as well as stairs, elevators and the supporting structure itself, leaves too too few parking spaces per level.  Overall it’s a very inefficient design and leaves drivers often trolling up and down the levels looking for a parking space.  If you are going to build a structure, it needs to have a large-enough footprint that the ramps don’t take up such disproportionate amount of the potential parking area.

Manhattan on the other hand seems to have the solution.  Rack mount parking that provides the maximum density of parked cars per area available.  There is little wasted space and it’s probably cheaper to install than a parking structure.  I saw all kinds of these structures during my cab rides between the hotel and Javits Center and the airport.

With my limited time in the city, I didn’t get to really do any sight-seeing.  Manhattan is a very densely populated city with stuff going on everywhere you look and all kinds of noises.  The city is very much alive and an interesting place to visit, but the kind of place I’d want to live.  It seems like the majority of actual moving cars on the streets of Manhattan are yellow cabs, with most of the private vehicles sitting in those racks.  Given the traffic in the city, that’s probably just as well.

Getting out of New York was a real pain in the ass.  The Javits Center is on the western edge of Manhattan island while JFK airport was east of Manhattan in Queens.  Judging from my several cab rides over 48 hours in town plus my previous visit in December, going north-south in Manhattan is pretty straight-forward.  Going east-west on the other hand is anything but.  My ride to the airport involved the cabbie continuously turning norht or south trying to find an east-west route that wasn’t backed up.  The 17 mile ride took about an hour and a half.  It’s a good thing I left with plenty of time.  more later…

Sitting in a New York cab

I spent a few hours in Manhattan today. I had to fly in for a meeting this morning and then fly back this afternoon, and I spent more time in the two cabs than I did in the city itself. The cabbie from the airport to the meeting was into left foot braking, but I know for a fact that he never pressed the brake and accelerator at the same time. How you might ask do I know this fact? Because he had no right foot. When he hopped out of the cab at the airport to pick me up, he literally was hopping. His right leg ended at the knee. This was definitely a first for me.

The cabbie on the way back to the airport was telling me about his wife stealing his three kids and how he called a psychic today. Since I wanted to get to the airport in a timely fashion so that I could get home, I didn’t have the heart to tell him what a complete scam telephone psychics are. Poor guy might as well have taken out a match and lit up his $150.

Fortunately the flight from Detroit to La Guardia is only about 1 hour and 40 minutes otherwise the exit row seat I got might not have been such a good idea. I hate sitting in the middle seat of three on airplanes, even if I have legroom. Sitting here in the back of a New York taxi makes me realize that there is no way I would ever want to drive in this city. This may be a great city but it makes Toronto traffic look like a party.