I was reminded today one of the big reasons why I commute by bike: parking. Today I am picking up my wife from the airport and had to drive to school so I can leave straight from here. I thought that I would just suck it up and pay a few bucks for parking in the garage so that I wouldn't have to hunt for a spot. The sign at the garage stated that times greater than 2-1/2 hours cost $10, so being the cheap grad student that I am, I pulled out and went hunting. After some extended searching, I found a spot about 6 blocks away from my building and squeezed my minivan into a tight parallel parking spot.
Some of you who do this every day may be rolling your eyes at my complaining, but how can you get used to this? Call me spoiled rotten, but I love passing long lines at red lights and stop signs, and I love even more rolling right up to my building without having to hunt for a spot.
And on that note, have you ever stopped to notice how much urban space is devoted to parking? Take a few minutes and imagine yourself as an alien visiting earth for the first time and trying understand why our cities are the way they are. You might be tempted to think that growing cars is a major agricultural activity by the devoted to the Mighty Automobile.