Parking spots for women?

Fredericton will be examining whether or not there should be designated parking spots for women in public garages — not because women can’t park like men can, but for safety reasons:

Women should get the well-lit, closer-to-the-exit spot in a parking garage – or so the thinking goes.

“It’s entirely oriented towards safety or giving people a greater sense of safety and security in a fairly visible area which is desirable and promotes safety,” city councillor Stephen Chase told News 889.

The article notes, though:

“The logical – let me repeat that – logical solution would be to address the lighting and security issues for ‘both’ genders and proceed accordingly,” writes TyGin, a commenter on the CBC web site.

Thoughts? (Thanks CB!)

12 thoughts on “Parking spots for women?

  1. Thsere are no conditions under I’d feel safe in a garage or parking lot after dark unless I had some way to call for help that was alwayss within reach.

    Before dark is not much better.

  2. Anne, I agree.

    When I first read this it struck me as a bit paternalistic–and while I understand (and appreciate) the concern over how to improve safety, it’s not obvious to me that the proposal would actually help; even if better lighting would improve safety, the comment about safety for all strikes me as spot on.

  3. Philodaria, I completely agree. One is warned that at Houston’s Galleria, theves will wait under one’s car and slash one tendons. Making a special spot for women is not an improvement in the sort of situation. In fact, they could put up a sign, “victims here”.

    Big cities in the sttes may be particulrly awful, at lest in the western world.

    It occurred to me today that the slashing story could be an urban legend, but several people have been killed in areas very close to ours.

  4. My first reaction was pretty much what Anne said about targeting. In addition to creating a target for sex crimes, ou’d also create a target for hate crimes against property. I imagine there would be at least one incident of a misogynist or maybe just some guy whose girlfriend broke up with him who decided to visit a garage one evening and slash a few tires in the ladies’ section.

  5. For what it’s worth, that bit about slashing tendons sounded immediately like an urban legend to me, and I think there’s good reason to think that’s so:

    I’d wonder if women are particularly more likely to be assaulted in parking garages or not. Better safety for all is obviously important, (though most of the garages I’ve parked in recently were pretty well lit) but I’d be interested to see what the statistics are before I wanted to do anything different for different genders.

  6. Matt’s comment about the statistics seems to me to be important. It might be that women are more likely than men to be attacked in places like this, but it’s not a given. Even if they are, providing gender-segregated parking could turn out to be a matter of responding to the fear of attack rather than to the problem itself. (We might be pandering to fears, rather than responding to them in a particularly productive way.)

    I suspect, too, that the second comment from the article that you quote is going to carry most of the moral weight. If there’s any part of town where women face a higher risk of attack, I’d bet that there’ll be an elevated risk for everyone. That is: imagine, for the sake of the argument, that it can be shown that women are 20% more likely to be attacked in dark corners of car-parks than in well-lit bits, and that women are more likely than men to be attacked in those parts as well. This is compatible with men facing – say – a 15% greater chance of attack in those dark corners than in well-lit parts. Even if the risk to women is raised more than the risk to men is raised, both might rise. Segregated parking would mean that it’s just men who face this elevated risk, though.

    Since I take it that the primary problem with women being mugged is that they are mugged, rather than that they are women, that would seem to be an undesirable outcome. Better to work to reduce the number of attacks across the board.

    (Does that make sense? I’m slightly worried that I’m beginning to sound like one of those men’s rights weirdos. That’s not the intention…)

    Pushing things a little more, segregated parking might be undesirable for other reasons. Especially if the stats don’t support there being a significantly elevated risk for women in these areas, it’s not impossible that segregated parking would actually create a fear where there was none before and where none is warranted. Since I take it that fear is bad, especially when it’s unwarranted, that’d be undesirable.

  7. Wouldn’t maybe just addressing what causes the need for these kind of “safety” measures be.. I dunno, the ACTUAL thing to work on?

    Women get assaulted in broad daylight. Are we to suggest that if the sun were only brighter that these assaults wouldn’t have happened?

    This just seems to set up a dialogue in which, if women do get assaulted then it must have been because of something they did (or didn’t do) because if they park in the magic spaces then suddenly they are safe. This seems to place the onus on the woman as opposed to the attacker.

    I’ll just stick to the MTA.

  8. My worry would be its potential bad side effects, such as reinforcing stereotypes, and that the benefit might not be enough (I have no idea about the numbers). It would be safer to just avoid any negative side effects to just pay more to really solve the parking lot problem; to just add security and lighting to the point that there is no need for special parking spots, even if lights and cameras cost more than signs in a parking lot or whatever.

  9. Here’s an idea! Why don’t women and men get rid of their cars and get onto the buses? They would save money, the environment and all the stress of driving and parking. NOW THAT’S LOGICAL!

  10. Two sections of Going Green: 12 Simple Steps for 2012 published by ‘WORLDWIDE INSTITUTE Vision for a Sustainable World state:
    (8) Get out and ride
    We all know that carpooling and using public transportation helps cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, as well as our gas bills. Now, cities across the country are investing in new mobility options that provide exercise and offer an alternative to being cramped in subways or buses. Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C. have major bike sharing programs that allow people to rent bikes for short-term use. Similar programs exist in other cities, and more are planned for places from Miami, Florida, to Madison, Wisconsin.
    What you can do:
    • If available, use your city’s bike share program to run short errands or commute to work. Memberships are generally inexpensive (only $75 for the year in Washington, D.C.), and by eliminating transportation costs, as well as a gym membership, you can save quite a bit of money!
    • Even if without bike share programs, many cities and towns are incorporating bike lanes and trails, making it easier and safer to use your bike for transportation and recreation.
    (9) Share a car
    Car sharing programs spread from Europe to the United States nearly 13 years ago and are increasingly popular, with U.S. membership jumping 117 percent between 2007 and 2009. According to the University of California Transportation Center, each shared car replaces 15 personally owned vehicles, and roughly 80 percent of more than 6,000 car-sharing households surveyed across North America got rid of their cars after joining a sharing service. In 2009, car-sharing was credited with reducing U.S. carbon emissions by more than 482,000 tons. Innovative programs such as Chicago’s I-GO are even introducing solar-powered cars to their fleets, making the impact of these programs even more eco-friendly.
    What you can do:
    • Join a car share program! As of July 2011, there were 26 such programs in the U.S., with more than 560,000 people sharing over 10,000 vehicles. Even if you don’t want to get rid of your own car, using a shared car when traveling in a city can greatly reduce the challenges of finding parking (car share programs have their own designated spots), as well as your environmental impact as you run errands or commute to work.

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