Meet PRN Board Member Eric Arellano

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi! I’m a volunteer, board member, and donor to PRN, along with a software engineer at IBM Quantum and an animal rights activist. After living in Mexico City for 1.5 years, I returned to Arizona to be a founding member of Culdesac, the car free community.

At age 13, my youth pastor challenged us to not wait to be adults to change the world. Inspired, my friends and I started raising money for clean water wells in Ghana, e.g. through bake sales and car washes. Since then, I’ve tried to find out how to make the world kinder, more livable, and more just. 

In my free time, I love cooking vegan recipes, improving my Spanish, and volunteering at farmed animal sanctuaries.

How did you discover parking reform?

The War on Cars podcast radicalized me at the end of 2021. I’ve always loved biking and walking, but the podcast gave me the vocabulary to understand why I was frustrated living in car-dominated Arizona. Then, four months later, a pickup truck hit me while biking and broke my collarbone for three months (prompting a PRN donation!). The book There Are No Accidents made me realize my collision was not an isolated incident: something needed to dramatically change.

In October 2022, someone on Twitter tweeted to thank PRN for helping in the statewide parking reform win and encouraged others to donate to this organization entirely run by interns and volunteers. The website intrigued me, and I reached out to Tony to get involved.

I’ve been hooked since. PRN is the best opportunity I’ve found as a donor and volunteer to meaningfully impact climate change and housing affordability!

What is the most important issue that parking has an impact on?

Climate change. I know that I and PRN can’t stop climate change, but it’s not a binary problem. Every pound of Co2 we avoid makes the world that much more livable.

We have to stop the US’s auto addiction; parking reform is the best shot I’ve found. It’s particularly promising because of carbon lock-in: the parking infrastructure we do or do not build now will determine our emissions for decades.

What special knowledge or skill do you bring to PRN?

My favorite type of volunteering with PRN is software engineering! 

I started college as a sustainability major but changed to computer science because I fell in love with my Intro to Programming class. I wasn’t sure when I changed majors, though, how I could use it to help the world. It’s been rewarding using software engineering to help PRN, along with my day job allowing me to donate via “earning to give“.

Some of the projects I’ve done at PRN include:

  • Automating volunteer submissions to our Parking Mandates Map to show up on our live site
  • Improving the Parking Lot Map (85% smaller page bundle size!)
  • Cleaning up data with Python

What’s a parking question you wish there was a study or research paper about?

How does parking reform factor into adapting to sea level rise?

The book The Water Will Come by Jeff Goodell explores how sea levels rise and how flooding is impacting coastal cities like Miami. A central challenge is how many resources it would take to rebuild all of our car-based infrastructure like roads and parking. Goodell ponders alternatives like Miami switching from cars to boats, a la Venice.

Before we invest billions of dollars into rebuilding our car-based infrastructure in the exact same way—only raised a few feet higher—how can we re-envision our cities? What role does parking reform play?

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