Friday, May 18, 2007

Seattle City Council full of Zoo Doo

I read in the Seattle P-I today that the majority of the Seattle City Council members want the Woodland Park Zoo to scrap its plans for a garage because building a garage will encourage zoo patrons to drive those big, bad cars to the zoo.

Talk about political correctness trumping common sense! (And congrats to the one realist on the City Council, Dave Della, for supporting a garage.) I am willing to bet that the majority of City Council members have two or fewer kids (if any). This, of course, is in marked contrast to most zoo patrons, who, I have observed on my many trips to the zoo, have quite a few kids.

Last week I took care of a friend's energetic 4-year-old grandson. Part of the day involved walking him and his bike with training wheels to a nearby park, along a very busy street. This required keeping a grip on the child and the bike. It was three blocks each way and when we made it home I was ready for a Valium and a trip to the chiropractor.

As I read about the sanctimonious City Council members, I was trying to imagine some mom with two or three kids in tow trying to get them onto a bus, off a bus, onto a connecting bus, off that bus, and into the zoo -- along with a stroller that requires two hands to open and close -- without one of the kids darting away and into traffic. I got exhausted just thinking about it.

The fabulous thing about driving your kids around in the family van and parking in a parking lot or garage is that you can leave one or two of them strapped in the car seat while you arrange the other one in a stroller. You can then move from the relatively controlled environment of the lot or garage onto the zoo property without trying to get everyone across a busy intersection.

Quite frankly, other than a hospital, I can't think of a city institution that has a more rational need for plenty of car parking than the zoo.

But who said anything about rational? This is Seattle. We don't have the sort of sane public transportation systems you find in other major cities (monorails, subways, trains). We just pretend to be green and waggle our fingers at those evil people who want to destroy the environment by driving their cars full of children to the zoo.

Having trouble finding a parking place at the zoo? You can always hop Metro down to the City Council offices. I hear they have one hell of an exhibit full of ostriches.

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