MUSKOGEE – A couple may be forced to move from their home to make way for a parking lot for a call center in Muskogee, NewsOn6 is reporting.

Orlin and Cathy Phillips have lived in their home for 20 years but may lose their home so employees of the Veterans Administration call center can let their cars sit unproductive for eight hours a day on the Phillips’s land.

The Veterans Administration says they’ve explored other options, but the nearby land of churches and retail establishments would be too expensive to buy. The option they haven’t considered is that you don’t need a car to get around. Well, maybe Muskogee hasn’t made it very easy for anyone to get around without a car.

Streetsblog has an article today called “How the ‘Right’ to Cheap Parking Makes Streets Less Equitable” that touches on the concept of “compulsory car” thinking.

Many people seem to assume that driving is the only (tolerable) way to move around or that most drivers have little or no choice. They assume that if you can’t afford to park in an area, then you can’t afford to go there. Many people seem to be thinking of parking and driving as a basic necessity, like water.

Free parking is a problem in Oklahoma. Not that you can’t find any. The problem is there’s too much of it. If the Veterans Administration or the City of Muskogee charged market-based prices for parking, they wouldn’t need to steal the Phillips’s home. Perhaps if the employees had to pay the true cost of parking, they would find another way to get to work.

You can watch the NewsOn6 report on the Phillips’s parking lot battle by clicking here.

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