I've seen a few articles noting that the City of Raleigh has voted to begin charging to park in the downtown parking decks 24/7 at the end of the year. At least one article has pointed out that one of the reasons cited for raising these fees is to pay to clean up human waste left in the parking decks.
Now while we're all adverse to fee increases in general, several local business owners have raised legitimate concerns about the effects of this plan. Not only will the parking fees raise their employees' cost of living- requiring wage increases that will raise the businesses' bottom line which will require them to raise their prices- but the added cost of parking may directly drive away paying customers from the downtown area. Some of these business owners have offered alternative solutions for dealing with the parking fee increases, but all these solutions- including the city's own- are just band-aids that don't address the source of the problem: people are pooping in the parking decks.
Not only is this practice unsanitary, but also- as the city has made clear- costly to clean up. And if business owners think parking fees will deter potential customers, imagine the effect of parking decks littered with solid human waste. No, the thing to do here is address the root cause of the problem and find a way to get people to stop defecating in our parking structures.
Thus, I offer the following proposal which I arrived at after lots of thought and research: we need to encourage people to start crapping on the grass instead.
First off, a growler sitting on a concrete floor attracts insects, germs, and parasites. It also creates an unpleasant smell in an enclosed area and doesn't decompose. A loaf pinched in an open park, on the other hand, will break down much faster thanks to the natural organisms already living in that environment. The smell will also disipate much faster in the open air.
Secondly, if people start taking their dumps in the parks and other grassy areas downtown instead of the parking decks, it will not only eliminate the cost of cleaning it up, but it will also reduce maintenence costs of our parks. Feces is not only a great natural fertilizer (many farmers have manure shipped in to mix into their fields), but in this case, it's completely free and potentially eliminates the need for thousands of dollars of chemical fertilizers from the city's annual budget. Another benefit of food babies is that they're completely organic, as opposed to the chemical fertilizers that get scattered on the streets and sidewalks when they're put out, getting washed into the gutter, and ultimately polluting our rivers.
Some critics of this plan might say that the more reasonable solution is for people to use the restroom at the establishment they're leaving from. However, I'd like to point out that a Mr. Hankey left on the lawn does not use any water or other waste management services, thus reducing not only the utility costs of the businesses downtown, but the load on the city's own sewage infrastructure. Such a reduction of water usage will also ease the strain on our water supplies as the area's population increases, especially during times of drought.
While we're at it, as long as people are BMing in the grass, it would be silly to continue to require pet owners to pick up their dogs' #2s. Think of how much organic fertilizer that is over the course of a year that won't be sealed in layers of plastic bags and tossed into our landfills never to decompose. Leaving the dog deuces on the ground reduces trash and, thereby, saves the city time and money going around and collecting it.
At the end of the day, I'm not the person who will select and implement the plan for dealing with the parking deck situation, but I strongly urge the city to consider this option I've put forth, which I feel is the only one that attacks the problem at the source rather than merely treating a side effect. I also imagine all the cost saving listed above would at least equal, if not exceed, the amount of money the city would raise by increasing parking deck fees.
However, a government is meant to represent the will of the people and it is up to us to take personal responsibility in solving this problem. I encourage everyone to do their part to stop crapping in the parking decks because, well, that shit's just nasty, folks.