Arbutus Answers: Driven to Distraction
What's the deal with spots reserved for greener cars at the Arbutus library?
A while ago, a reader wrote to Arbutus Patch:
I went to the Arbutus library last night and as I drove into the parking lot I saw five or six empty parking spaces which were closest to the entrance. As you know, it was very cold last night and I was relieved to see that I could park so close, that is until I started to pull into one of the spots. There are signs on these empty spots saying they are reserved for low emission vehicles only!
The nerve of Baltimore County to designate parking spaces for something like that. First of all, they built the library in a place that is inaccessible to most of the residents of the community unless they have a car. If they wanted to be "green," I suppose this is what it's all about, they should have built it in a place accessible to more people on foot or by bus.
Second, do they realize that this is a blue collar community? A lot of people are lucky to have a car much less the funds to purchase an expensive low emission vehicle! I'm not saying this is a poor community, but I'm sure that most people have much more pressing agendas than a new car, so that lets them out in the front row of the library parking lot.
Third, that library was paid for with the average citizen's tax money. The average citizen does not own a low emission vehicle.
Five parking spaces near the front entrance of the Arbutus Branch library have signs indicating that the spots are reserved for "low emitting fuel efficient vehicles only."
Allowing those with disabilities to park near the front door is a reasonable accommodation. Why do low-emitters get special treatment?
Arbutus Branch Library manager Gail Ross cleared the air for us.
The new building housing the library and Arbutus Senior Center was designed with key features in mind to qualify for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDS) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The facility has low and dual-flush toilets that reduce water consumption, rooms equipped with motion detectors to turn lights on and off, energy-efficient heating, cooling and lighting systems, and other innovative design features that reduce its carbon footprint.
One of the features that factored into the LEEDS certification was setting aside parking spots for energy-efficient cars.
Just between us, there is actually no enforcement of the signs. Nothing will happen if you park a gas-guzzling SUV in one of those spots, other than sustaining the glares of passers-by. Unlike parking in a spot designated for the disabled, you won't get ticketed or towed for parking there.
"It's on an honor system," Ross says, "And we have very honorable patrons."