The latest and greatest attempt to replace reverse-angle parking with front-in parking on Mason Avenue crashed like a lead balloon Thursday night.
The Town of Cape Charles was planning on submitting its latest ‘Design Waiver’ to VDOT, which would basically ban 80% of all vehicles from parking on Mason—that is, all trucks and large vehicles (including SUVs) would be verboten. You know, the kind of vehicles most people drive.
Not sure what they were not thinking with this one, but the prerequisite public outcry forced the town council to toss the whole thing in the trash.
After years of studies, tens of thousands of dollars in consulting fees (your tax dollars), and many, many hours of staff time (your tax dollars at work), the quest for front-in parking is relegated to the 8th ring of Dante’s Hell, probably never to return. Council voted to kill the current waiver proposal, as well quashing future attempts to “reverse the reverse”.
It seemed VDOT had made it clear several times that reverse-angle was the preferred, safer option, and that it would be hard, if not impossible to move them off of it. Cape Charles was never going to have front-in parking. VDOT just let them chase the fantasy anyway.
There were some members of the Town Council that still could not decipher the message. Council members Follmer and Holloway wanted to table the proposal, get ‘more public input’ from ‘constituents’ and re-visit in the future.
It doesn’t matter what the people want. The only thing that matters is what VDOT wants, and they want reverse-angle parking. C’mon, man.
Let’s face it, both parking schemes suck, but they suck in their own ways. It appears reverse-angle sucks just a little bit less. Not much, just a little. So, there you have it.
Despite all the wailing, gnashing of teeth, the falling to the ground, and shaking fists at Lord VDOT, parking is not the real problem with Cape Charles. It’s just a symptom. Maybe it’s not the parking situation that sucks, but the town itself. This boondoggle should have been expected.
Many years ago, there were those that warned this would be the outcome of selling the town’s soul for the lure of tourist dollars. Now that full-blown Touristation has taken hold, the once quiet, charming Cape Charles has turned into something else. This is also what happens when unchecked gentrification takes place–this is a holistic model, and many things affect it, making it what it is.
The new Cape Charles has been taken over by more affluent residents and people of privilege, mainly of the retiree class. This “upward” movement has forced displacement of locals, has fostered discriminatory behavior by people in power and placed a focus on spaces that exclude low-income individuals and people of color.
Of course, these new residents are plenty proud of themselves for creating a mini–Fairfax County on the once quiet and sleepy Eastern Shore. Congratulations.
In Cape Charles, this once working-class town has been converted to high-end neighborhoods with only very expensive housing options. Options that working folks can’t afford (this scenario is spreading to all nooks of the Shore).
Even as old Cape Charles has remained largely residential, the development attracts new residents with higher incomes which in turn increases the cost of living and property values, as well as seasonal density.
The influx of these new and more affluent residents, along with massive quantities of ‘visitors’ puts pressure on the housing market that produces inflated rents and prices that effectively displace low-income residents.
What we have witnessed in Cape Charles is that the “new residents”, who have come here are in wealthy groups with the “most spatialized privilege” and “high economic standing” use this privilege to control and shape town policy after their own image. How many original locals are now on Town Council??
The amount of traffic and the parking issue that accompanies it is the result of many factors, including the intentional (political) decisions made by the Town of Cape Charles.
So, for all you whining about parking, dudes, you did it to yourself. Enjoy.