The case for over-night parking has been an editorial football for so long that its imminent introduction into a City Councilman's scrimmage next week, while welcome, is surprising. Councilmen have long contended that the easiest way to handle Cambridge's parking problem is to ignore it. The combination of out-of-town students and week-day motorists riding the MTA into Boston forces thousands of extra cars into the city. So far Cambridge has overlooked inadequate garage facilities while ordering cars off the streets at night for safety reasons.
One Councilman, Joseph A. DeGuglielmo, finally decided there is nowhere else to put the automobile, and has filed a motion providing for the issuance of 30-day all night parking permits costing $2. These would go to any students or residents who could prove no garage facilities were available within a "reasonable distance."
The inter-city hike to the Business School parking lot is certainly not a "reasonable distance." Any number of undergraduates have preferred to risk an occasional parking ticket. For these law-dodgers, DeGuglielmo notes, passages of the ruling will mean the end of "violating the criminal laws of the city of Cambridge." It will also mean a saving in money and shoe leather for those who must trudge to the Business School.
These are small consolation to at least 500 garage owners and safety addicts lobbying against the motion. The garage owners cry creeping socialism, while safety addicts fear that a fire engine might not fit through car-narrowed, snow clogged streets. But even the city traffic coordinator has backed the plan for all streets at least 40 feet wide. Certainly, for any street that a fire engine can drive down, there should be no unnecessary limitation to overnight parking.
Unfortunately, Councilmen play a drawn out brand of football. This issue may well be kicking around when the present undergraduate body reaches voting age and sweeps DeGuglielmo back into office. But the Councilmen should finally admit that streets are potential parking areas at night as well as by day.