Publicado en El Pais, 5 de Febrero 2022.
When it occurs to us to go for our groceries, obviously first we think about the things that we need, and we worry about making a list so as not to forget anything. Like many, due to work I also have to go for the weekly groceries on Saturdays, or late on a weekday. These are times when the city center is congested, without parking spaces and the stores crowded with lines for paying. Very stressful.
Experts often tell us that we have to go shopping outside the normal hours, to congest the street and have a more pleasant experience. My boss, my colleagues and my clients have no choice. Also, I don’t think a school principal can change her schedule to go shopping. It’s not that simple to adjust the schedule, even if you want to take the rest of the world into account. We can make purchases online, any time, and without the need to enter the traffic jungle. But getting out of the house and away from work is just something we need to recharge.
According to parkingtoday.com in peak hours, 30%-70% of the traffic on main streets is looking for a parking space. It seems that we are lacking parking at the moment, but if we can solve this, there will also be less congestion. The companies that build their new offices already take into account that there is enough parking. On one hand, because many workers arrive by car, but also so that customers have a place to park. It is possible to give your workers incentives to come by bicycle or public transport. However this is more difficult to demand from your customers. It would be a shame if you lose a (new) customer just because they can’t drop off their car in an easy way.
A parking lot full of cars is not pretty, but neither is it cheap for the potential use of space. In some cities they put them under soccer fields or squares. We must think more about creating spaces in an intelligent way if we do not want to further harm the economy. But I imagine that this is not easy to change in the short term. For the time being, leave the car at home when you can and if possible, use the bike, it is a good opportunity to recharge your batteries and for sports.