Save Our Parking: Revisiting SOHO

Imagine a historic organization which totally ignores the dominant transportation forms at its time.

It’s SOHO: Save Our Heritage Organization aka Save Our Property Values and Parking.

I am too tired to look it up, but there was a recent blogger who mentioned those people who are knee jerk against development are actually, predominantly, against losing parking and having to deal with increased congestion.

That’s why the idea of good development is like the idea of a good disease. Asking what kind of development one wants is asking what kind of illness one wants to be infected with. The only answer is none.

But to ask for no development would make one a giant douche bag, a person who would not be taken seriously.

Thus, there has to be a facade.

One facade, as per _Reluctant Metropolis_, is the “tract home environmentalist”. They are those who were in favor of the freeway that cut through virgin woods. They were happy to buy a house built by a developer in a freshly exploited area. But they are opposed to the next person who wants to move in down the street because IT’S BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.

In the city, we don’t have obscure species to protect. Thus, we need a new excuse to protect our parking spaces and our space on the road. Enter history!

I laugh at this as I was once tour guide for the buildings where the country was literally founded, in Philadelphia. The history of San Diego, is the history of whore houses. I don’t mean this in a bad way: take the tour. Don’t take my word for it.

SOHO cares little for actual history which is why they don’t mention the proliferation of bicycles which occurred at the time when most of the buildings that they want to protect occurred. Their plan for Balboa Park was focused on building new roads! This does not go against their mission which primarily is focused on stopping all development projects.

“A ‘teardown’ refers to the practice of demolishing an existing house to make way for a dramatically large new home on the same lot.”

http://sohosandiego.org/reflections/2003-2/histdistricts.htm

Note that this never happens. With small lots and tiny yards, this is physically impossible. Plus who wants a large new home with no space for their car nor a lawn. This is utter nonsense.

What SOHO hates are apartment complexes and other sky scrapers. This is because they are mainly suburbanites who believe that they need a car to buy a jug of milk. Thus, new apartment means more cars. This is probably true, but it’s mainly so due the intense fight against spending any money to help alternative transportation.

In general, they are unfamiliar with real cities so they see “urban” as bad. In fact, some people even use it for code for black person which is strange.

Let’s give SOHO a real history lesson. History is about our connection to the stories of the past and it’s not to be abused by selfish property owners who fight against positive change. Let’s not focus so much on our own Disney version of history–where everyone has their own motor car (sic)–that we disallow more history to happen.

History has to live and breathe. Bicycles are our past and our future. As SOHO says,

“A historical district is not a static museum, but rather a living, changing neighborhood.”

New, transit oriented and cycling oriented housing is to be celebrated and not a “disturbing trend” as the selfish and short sighted SOHO says that it is.

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