Time to liberate your garage

THERE’S room for your Buick right there (Flickr/Joe Schlbotnick).

If you drive along the typical suburban street in West Orange County, you may see a setting that looks a bit like a used car lot. All along the curbs – especially in the evening and on weekends – there are long strings of sedans, SUVs, trucks, even commercial vehicles parked .

The ongoing struggle on the Huntington Beach City Council over state housing mandates that many people believe represents “overrreach” by Sacramento raises a lot of questions. Is there a true housing shortage? Can it be solved by government action? Are everyone’s hands clean?

As I suggested above, the disappearance of on-street parking has become a symbol of how “overbuilding” can filter down to your street and mine. But – as is usually true – there’s more than one side to this.

• The folks on your street who don’t live in the house they own rent out rooms as a business. Four bedrooms and four tenants, maybe more. Those vehicles start to spill out on the asphalt and in front of your place.

• The very traditional family – think “Waltons” – that consists of mom and dad, the kids and the grandparents means at least four and maybe more vehicles.

• Then there’s the status-oriented individual who wants to exhibit wealth by buying two or three cars, merrily polishing the fenders to show off his or her new Tesla, BMW or – in the case of the merely successful – a Lexus.

All of this would not be a problem  as long as people park their cars in the garage, and/or the driveway – as they might  be –  should could accommodate four vehicles. But how many people do you know that use their garage as a snug little home for their automobiles?

It’s a pretty good bet that if you could magically raise all the garage doors in your street or neighborhood, you’d see the structures filled with anything but your Chevy or Toyota. American have so much stuff they love, it seems, we need to shelter it next to the water heater.

The solution to big problems can begin with small acts. Liberate your garage, Clean out – or sell – a lot of that stuff you don’t need or want anymore. Put up shelves along the walls to store some of the items you’ve been stacking on the concrete floor. It is time for spring cleaning, right?

Do that and you may find you don’t need to battle for curb space at all, and you’ll keep the sap and bird stuff off your VW or Hyundai. It’s more work than complaining but you may find the end result more satisfying.

But, if you have a boat, two jet skis and a foosball table in your garage and you’re happy with how that works out, fine. But don’t put all the blame on Gavin. Lord knows he’s done enough dumb things without taking all the blame for why you can’t park in front of your house all the time.

Jim Tortolano’s Retorts columns are now twice-weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Some of them aren’t bad.


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