Congestion Pricing Should be Attached to Parking Reform

crosby_parking.jpeg

The daily scene on SoHo’s Crosby Street, jammed with illegally parked government employees.

The Observer reported on Wednesday that Walter McCaffrey’s Committee to Keep New York City Congestion Tax Free recently solicited UCLA parking policy guru Donald Shoup to do a study of curbside parking policy in New York. Carolyn Konheim, a Brooklyn-based transportation consultant and decades-long congestion pricing advocate, thinks that sounds like a great idea.

As DOT Deputy Commissioner Bruce Schaller pointed out in his 2007 study, Free Parking, Congested Streets, "free or reimbursed parking is an inducement for the majority of motorists who choose to drive to the Manhattan Central Business District rather than use public transportation or other means of travel." Despite this fact, Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030 has almost nothing to say on reforming parking policy. Konheim suggests that "we need to price both roads and parking." Perhaps this is something that congestion pricing advocates and opponents might actually be able to agree on.

Here is Konheim’s commentary:

The Mayor should extend the offer to Shoup. The California- based consultant concluded years ago that pricing parking can be as effective as pricing roads. The high cost of Manhattan off-street parking proves the point. Bruce Schaller’s finding that half the auto entries into the Manhattan Central Business District (CBD) park for free also proves the point.

London has demonstrated that we need to price both roads and parking. Seeing parking as the low hanging fruit, London started curbside pricing first. At an NYU forum on pricing this spring, London’s First Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron, congestion pricing ambassador extraordinaire, whispered away from the microphone: "I hate to be critical, but you’ve got parking all wrong — you need to control it first. In London, you can’t park for more than 20 minutes without a permit or you’ll be clamped. If you can park, it costs 40 quid [~$80]."

Garage rates in central London run $65/day, $1,200 a month. London auto commuters have no local street parking option outside the central pricing zone because all 32 boroughs in the city limit non-resident curbside parking to two hours and deliveries and drop-offs to 20 minutes. In boroughs close to the center, a stay of two hours costs about $8. Spaces are designated in all boroughs for residents who pay a range of $180 to $250 a year for permits for one car and one visitor. Businesses can also get parking permits. Violators’ tires are enthusiastically clamped by local wardens who collect fines of $300 or more for their boroughs, which use the revenues for improving roads and traffic calming. The borough of Westminster is developing an automated parking enforcement system. The borough in the center of London nets about $70 million a year in parking revenues.

New York is obviously way behind on parking management. In the core of Manhattan, there are ten times more off-street spaces than in London, and half the drivers into the CBD pay nothing for parking. Many New York neighborhoods are plagued with commuter parking, abuse of agency parking privileges and counterfeit parking permits. Meter feeding is the norm on New York retail streets, which in the boroughs typically adds up to a cost of $8 — but is not regarded as prohibitive as the proposed $8 congestion fee.

Local civic leaders have expressed fears about the impacts on communities near subway stations that serve the pricing zone, which are not assuaged by Mayoral allusions to — but no apparent action on — residential parking permits. Any serious action on resident permits would reveal that they must be just one part of a comprehensive parking program that requires broad public appreciation that street space doesn’t come free — a heavy lift for champions of local parking "rights."

Mayor Bloomberg’s bold pricing initiative creates an opportunity to start in Manhattan by properly pricing ALL parking within the pricing zone. The fee would deter free parkers (many on the City payroll). And parking permit fees equal to the $4/day that the Mayor proposes to charge residents for trips within the pricing zone could provide the equity he seeks by charging Manhattan drivers for intra-zone trips. Doing so would eliminate the need for the costly proposed charging network of thousands of charging stations.

As London Deputy Mayor Gavron asked: "Why would you want multiple cordons? We have enough trouble with one." A charging cordon across 60th Street and bridges and tunnels, even simpler than London’s, would be far less costly and free up far more congestion revenues for better transit — the real payoff for all New Yorkers.

  • Larry Littlefield

    It works in residential areas too.

    I’ve often said that a reasonable fee (say $25 per month) should be charged to park overnight on the street. It would discourage the purchase of cars, or additional cars, by those who don’t really need them — and shift the cost of government from those who don’t have them to those using now-free public space.

    I’d also limit permit availability to those registered and insured in the area, thus eliminating another ripoff for those who are honest.

    In my neighborhood, as middle- and moderate-income non-driving seniors die off and are replaced by affluent couples, parking has become tougher and tougher. Some of those folks don’t need the car. And shouldn’t some of the burden of maintaining the street be shifted from those seniors and their taxes to the parkers, who occupy two of three lanes on my block?

    More to the point, in a few years when the kids are grown and my current vehicle wears out, will I need a car and should I buy another? Or could I just rent one, and use car service, when necessary? What would the city prefer? The car rental is heavily taxed, the on-street parking is free.

  • greg

    all those cars should have their tires deflated one day

  • “Shoup … concluded years ago that pricing parking can be as effective as pricing roads.”

    I am all for Shoupian pricing, but in Manhattan it will not do much to reduce automobile use. In Manhattan, there is so much demand for parking that every space now occupied by someone parking free will be occupied by someone willing to pay.

    Shoup wants prices high enough to keep 15% of on-street parking vacant, so that will reduce the number of parked cars a bit. But it will also mean that the spaces now used for long-term parking will be used for short-term parking instead, so the overall result will probably be more automobile use.

    It is a good way to raise more revenue by forcing cars to pay their fair share, and it is a good way to help businesses by providing more short-term parking, but it is not a way to reduce automobile use in Manhattan.

    (As evidence that “I am all for Shoupian pricing,” see my op-ed backing it in our local newspaper at
    http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/text/article.cfm?issue=11-24-06&storyID=25721

  • a.v.

    How about offering car rental companies some sort of incentive to provide affordable rentals to city residents who don’t own cars? Lots of people, myself included, own vehicles and pay to park them exclusively to use them on weekends. Like it or not, it’s still a car-based world once you cross the Hudson (or drive past Yonkers or Queens) and rental companies take advantage of New York’s low ownership rate in order to gouge customers. Seriously, $125 a day for a car I could own and park and insure for $500 a month? Car ownership would go down if it was easier to access cars when non-owners need them.

  • Larry Littlefield

    An issue no one has talked about.

    NY once had a virtually unique “vicarious liability” law, that held car owners liable for anything car renters did with the car — committing crimes, for example. It was repealed some years ago. The big issue was car leasing, but car rentals were also affected.

    The car rental companies claimed that the law jacked up their costs. Did prices come down, or rental companies rush into the newly profitable city, once it was repealed.

    Everyone loses interest once something is decided. Someone should go back and check on the claims made by lobbyists.

  • Ian Turner

    Er, you can rent a car in Manhattan from Enterprise for roughly $45/day, provided you make a reservation in advance.

  • a.v.

    Prices are higher on weekends and go up further once you add insurance, mileage (unlike the others, Enterprise rations out miles) and deal with the fact that Enterprise is closed most of the weekend so you often have keep and pay for the car for longer than you need it. Final price is more like $80 to $100 a day.

  • Dave

    Charles:

    I respectfully disagree that permit parking will not be effective in reducing traffic in Manhattan. A clear distinction needs to be made between residential parking (ie alternate side) and commercial parking (ie meters, Muni meters and areas where parking is allowed after 6 or 7pm.)

    I think the introduction of permit parking idea is to reform residential (alternate side) parking into on-street parking for locals who register and insure their cars in the neighborhood. The way I see it, permit parking does not address commercial spaces which are available only at night and on weekends

    Those who drive into the city during working hours and park for more than two hours (the normal exemption in Boston and Philadelphia) would be forced to park at meters or in garages. I think a lot of people who drive into the city would think twice if this were the case.

    People who drive in to the city at night and on weekends would be able to use the commercial spaces as they currently do; they would not, however, be able to use residential spaces.

    The additional cost of not only the $300 per year for the permit but also the cost of paying NYC taxes and insurance would convince a lot of people who are ambivalent about keeping a car to reconsider whether it is worth the cost. The higher the cost to keep a car in the city, the more likely you are to rent one as needed and come out ahead.

    I am not sure why Shoup wants 15% of residential spaces vacant (as they would be reserved for local residents only) but maybe that could be converted to delivery spaces in residential neighborhoods to eliminate double-parking (Ie Fresh Direct, UPS, FedEx trucks)

    Fewer cars registered in Manhattan and fewer people driving in to park for free on the streets; I think we’d get some reduction in traffic for sure.

    If they had foresight, the garage owners and taxi commission would band togethr to support the idea as it would mean more transient parking garage customers amd more taxi fares.

  • Dan

    Can someone explain why people whose big argument against congestion pricing is that it’s fundamentally regressive think this would be any less so? It’s still paying for a previously free service. It’s going to be waaaay more expensive per user than the congestion fee. Also, it will encourage people to look for cheaper spots which we all know causes more driving and more congestion. Paying for parking is ok, but paying for driving isn’t? I’m so confused.

  • Dave: I agree with you about residential permit parking. When I said “Shoupian parking,” I was referring only to commercial parking. I haven’t heard that Shoup talks about residential parking. He wants on-street commercial parking (eg, metered parking) to be priced so 15% is vacant to 1)shift long-term parkers to off-street parking and 2)open up convenient short-term parking for shoppers.

    Dan: As Shoup points out, if all parking is properly priced, people will spend much less time driving around looking for cheaper parking. Now, people drive around looking for a metered space because the meters are cheaper than the off-street parking. With Shoupian pricing, the meters will be more expensive than the off-street parking, so people parking long-term will drive straight to a parking garage or lot to park. People parking short-term will be able to find a meter near where they are shopping and will not have to drive around looking for a space.

  • Dave

    Dan:
    Let’s hope we can sell the issue this way:

    – People are used to pay to park (meters, garages, etc) and they are not used to paying to drive on streets where there is no no-cost option (ie taking the local roads instead of the toll road)
    – There will be a no-cost alternative (for up to 2 hours) in residential areas
    – Everyone will gain by easier parking at home if this is done citywide
    – There are LOTS of other cities that have permit parking (every major East Coast one for sure) so the model is out there

    Of course you will get a lot of pushback but I think this is a logical fist step to congestion control along with putting tolls back on the East River bridges (once again, people are used to paying a toll on a bridge and with EZ Pass this is easy)

    Of course you will get complaints that this is an unfair cost on poor people; we need to stress the fact that owning a car in NY is not a given right and should not be subsidized.

  • Ian Turner

    a.v.,

    You need to check your facts. While it’s true that in New York City, tourists drive up the weekend price to ~$65, everything else you mentioned is just wrong. Also, if you rent for a longer period (e.g., Wednesday->Tuesday), you won’t have to pay the weekend price.

    Basic liability insurance is included by New York State law. Collision damage can be covered if the rental is paid on a qualifiying card. Enterprise gives you unlimited mileage in NY/NJ/CT and 150 miles/day otherwise. I don’t know where you live, but a quick check shows that the 5 locations nearest my house are all open every day.

    Note that I’m not affiliated with Enterprise nor any other car rental company, I’m just a satisfied customer.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Enterprise charged use over $100 to rent a minivan for one day in Brooklyn, all in (taxes, fees and charges).

    Do rental companies still charge residents of Brooklyn more than residents of Manhattan, given equal driving records etc (ours is clean)?

  • greg
  • Charlie D.

    You got it Greg! If people only need a car occasionally (weekends, trips out of town, etc), ZipCar is the way to go. It’s cheaper and much easier than dealing with owning a car, especially if your only option is to deal with on-street parking.

  • a.v.

    I’m pretty good with my facts. I have rented many times from Enterprise in New York and Brooklyn. Basic liability insurance is inadequate. In New York it is 25/50/10. Any moderately serious accident will easily surpass those limits. In many other states they are lower than that (Jersey is 15/30/5) and the location of the accident determines which state’s minimums are in effect. Most people with assets to protect would be more comfortable with at least 100/300/50. The only option available from Enterprise surpasses that but costs around $13/day. So a $70/day rental (which is what I am quoted for an intermediate size car picked up 6 p.m. Friday and returned 6 p.m. Sunday October 12-14 from E 65th St) is already $83 before taxes which are around $10/day. I often go to Vermont, Maine or New Hampshire, which are not in the tri-state area and are not within 150 miles and therefore require me to purchase extra miles at $.20/mile. I do use the collision coverage from my MasterCard or AmEx, so that is not extra. Yes, most locations are open daily, but they close on Saturday afternoon, Sunday mornings and weekday evenings. Cars can not be returned after hours, so if you arrive home on, say, a Monday night, you must pay for an additional day, park the car overnight and return it Tuesday morning. If you want a car for one day only on the weekend (to get away for a Saturday night, for example) you must pay for extra hours or an extra day.

    Zipcar is a good idea, but again there is an insurance problem. I am not comfortable driving on the NJ turnpike knowing that if I do more than $5000 damage to somebody’s lexus I’m screwed. Zipcar does not offer the option of additional insurance. From what I have heard, it is also nearly impossible to reserve a zipcar on summer weekends.

    Anyway, my point was not to get bogged down in the details, but to point out that the cost and hassle of obtaining of car for a weekend trip is high enough as to encourage car ownership among people who value being able to leave the city with any degree of regularity. If the goal is to have fewer cars in New York, then this is an impediment. I don’t know much about what the economics of it look like from the rental companies’ perspective, and I could be wrong, but I find it difficult to believe they are not making a hefty profit here.

  • Hilary

    The public needs to be educated about the real cost of car ownership. a.v. says: “Seriously, $125 a day for a car I could own and park and insure for $500 a month?” The biggest expense is the depreciation, then gas, maintenance, even the opportunity cost of the money tied up in the depreciating asset (or interest on the car loan). This is a tremendous deterrent to rational people from purchasing a car.They calulate how many taxis, car rentals, etc. they can enjoy for the same (or much less) cost. However, once someone buys a car, it will almost always makes sense for them to use it as much as possible. The additional expenses are negligible.

  • gecko

    a.v. has a good point in detailing one of the apparent “necessities” for local car ownership and use.

    Human-scale transportation with minimal environmental impact can provide practical solutions to this and other issues but considerable funding is required for research, development, and industrial design around potential solutions that meet developed-world expectations similar to what a.v. describes.

    The speed record for completely human-powered recumbent bicycles is over 80 miles per hour for about 200 feet achieved by elite atheletes. Adding a small electric motor puts this type of performance within the reach of “normal” people greatly adding to the speed and range using hybrid human-electric vehicles and greatly improving the practicality and convenience of using human-scale transportation as a substantive improvement on conventional automotive travel.

    The powers that be should be working on this ASAP before it is too late and a climate change tipping point has been reached when the bulk of funds will urgently be needed for adaption and survival.

  • gecko

    hilary is also right about sensibly looking at the costs of car ownership and methods for eliminating this deeply entrenched bad habit need to be multifaceted and profound.

  • JF

    It’s good to hear from Ms. Konheim about this. I have two questions:

    1. Would rational parking pricing (varied by time of day if necessary) by itself make the city eligible for the Urban Partnership grant money?

    2. If so, is there any reason to oppose such a compromise?

  • Sproule Love

    Hilary is right. Buying a car, even a used one is one of the worst financial decisions you can make. Unless your car is 8-10 years old, depreciation alone could be several hundred dollars a month. I once calculated the cost of operating a seven to ten year old car worth about $4000 I used to own to be close to $300 a month over a 3 year period including insurance, tires, and repairs, but NOT depreciation or gas. I imagine the depreciation on a new car would more than make of the difference between repair costs.

    Obviously, the exorbitant cost is worth it for most people who live the U.S. because there aren’t other options in many places. But here in New York City, any rational cost-conscience resident wouldn’t own a car. People tend to really underestimate the cost of owning a car, while they overestimate the cost of renting a car. People often buy insurance from a rental car company, which is one of the great scams in business today. Not only is collision covered by most credit cards, but most auto insurance policies (my Gieco policy does) extend to you if you’re driving a rental car, so you get better liability coverage than the State minimum. Sure, if you buy insurance from the rental car company and damage the car, you don’t have to deal with the hassles of an insurance claim, but that convenience is expensive.

    Anecdotally speaking, I think renting a car in NYC can easily be $75 to $100, and sometimes there are no cars available on holiday weekends. Zip cars aren’t great for long trips, so while owning can be more convenient than renting, it’ll cost you and your fellow citizens more than many drivers think it does.

    All that said, I’m in favor of increasing the cost of parking. That combined with cracking down on illegal permit use by city employees would go a long way toward reducing the use of cars in NYC, which is really what were talking about here.

  • a.v.

    It’s a good point, hilary. And it’s one reason I wish car renting or sharing was more in line with what it costs in other cities — maybe with a reasonable markup (20 or 30 percent, not 100 percent) to account for it being NYC. There’s a psychological game here: “Why pay $250 to use a car for two days when I could pay twice that to use it WHENEVER I wanted for a whole month. At least then I wouldn’t feel like I’m getting ripped off.” Buy in bulk, you know. There are, as you say, hidden costs and good reasons not to, but if you can afford it it’s pretty easy to justify. Leasing makes it even easier — the depreciation and opportunity costs are included and the maintenance is pretty cheap on a less than 3 year old car.

    Sproule Love, if you don’t have a car, you don’t have car insurance. The only options I know of are maintaining your own liability policy to the tune $1200 or so a year minimum, or paying the rental companies by the day. If there’s something I’m missing, please share. (I’m talking about liability, not collision which is covered by many credit cards.)

    BTW, I’m also in favor of increasing the costs of using a car in New York, where there are good alternatives. For the vast majority of trips within NYC, particularly commuting, there’s simply no reason to drive and those who choose to do so should pay for the increased strain they place on the city.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (The biggest expense is the depreciation, then gas, maintenance, even the opportunity cost of the money tied up in the depreciating asset (or interest on the car loan).

    Actually, after the cost of the vehicle itself (depreciation and finance), the largest cost is insurance. Thus the majority of the costs of the automobile are either FIXED or EXTERNAL (congestion, pollution, etc.)

    What that means is, aside from travel to Manhattan for those without special deal parking, once you have a private car it is almost always the fastest AND cheapest (other than walking or biking) way to get around.

    That is because one isn’t including the fixed costs, let alone the social costs, in the calculation. So it doesn’t matter how expensive a motor vehicle trip is on a total cost basis, only on a marginal cost basis.

    There are many trips my family takes by car that, if we rented as needed instead of owning, would be taken some other way. But everyone knows the car is there, so which mode we choose is a matter of the lowest common denominator — who will be ready late enough that we will be late if we walk the mile. I’ve not even counting the weekly trip across the street for alternate side, which is generally the only driving I do during the week.

    So making it easier and cheaper to use a car occasionally when needed could do a lot to eliminate auto trips when not needed. And charging for on-street space, which is an incentive not to have a car you don’t use very much, also helps.

  • Hilary

    Well put, Larry. Driving for car-owners is now priced like mass transit. The more you use, the cheaper each trip is. And the proposed congestion fee will hardly alter the equation. If I take my car out to drive the family up to Lincoln Center, it will add a mere $4 — the cost of one person’s subway fare. The combination of the high fixed cost and low marginal cost of driving is what’s killing us.

    BTW pricing parking will still leave a substantial number of us who act as taxis. One person cruises while another does the errand, gets dropped off, etc. It’s the driving

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    I have always loved pay at the pump insurance as a transfer of fixed cost to marginal cost for operating the car. Owning a car would be cheaper, driving it more expensive.

  • Jonathan

    I bought a car because I needed to get to Staten Island from upper Manhattan for my reserve military duty early weekend mornings about ten times a year. The cumulative cost of renting a car is less than the insurance on my 2001 Nissan Maxima, and now that I have the car, I can go shopping on the mainland with it, visit friends and relatives who live more than 25 miles away from NYC, come home from late parties in a half-hour, and pick my girlfriend up at midnight when she works late.

    I have mixed feelings about car ownership, because I spent twenty years living in New York without a car and I got around on my bicycle just fine.

    But it is so much more convenient than mass transit, and much safer (especially compared to bicycling at night) that I would gladly swallow as much as an extra $50 a month for an on-street residential parking permit, especially if that would keep the Jersey-registered cars off the streets.

  • Larry Littlefield

    There is also the fixed cost of time, which for the rest of my family (since I handle alternate side and get it serviced) is zero. After that, a car saves time.

    The personal finance aspects need to be kept in mind. I myself will face some decisions over the next few years. I have a 10.5-year-old car I hope to keep running as long as possible. When it dies, do I replace it? At that point it will be a total cost vs. total cost decision.

    How about my teens? Do they learn to drive? How? And if they are going to drive, don’t they need to do it a lot to get good enough to be safe? And if they aren’t going to drive a lot, perhaps they shouldn’t start?

    Sorry bikers, by I tried to get my youngest to ride with me to church and soccer. She tried a couple of times, but found she was too afraid of driving on the street with the cars. I asked if she was afraid to ride a bike on the street, how does she expect to be able to drive that way. She said that’s different. Rather than transporting people, it seems we transport metal to protect us from other people’s metal.

  • Brian Ketcham has calculated that the personal and societal cost of a 15-mile round trip in NYC is $60 vs. $8 for an equivalent transit trip, averaging all subsidies. Clearly, our economy cannot sustain such costs.

    I appreciate the focus on my parking pricing proposal but everyone seems to have missed the beauty part–implementing it in the Manhattan pricing zone instead of installing elaborate technology to charge internal trips would enable a much less costly single cordon across Manhattan river to river and the four free bridges that would free up far more funds for transit than the low estimate by the MTA

  • JK

    From a transportation policy perspective it’s impossible to argue against coupling congestion pricing with parking pricing reform — Carolyn is dead right. But the real question to me is whether adding parking reform to the pricing proposal makes it politically easier or harder to get approval from the City Council and state assembly.

    Carolyn’s arguement is that incorporating parking into the pricing bargain allows a cheaper congestion fee collection system, and thus nets so much more revenue that the pols can’t turn it down.

    Sounds sensible but there is a huge obstacle. Pricing wide swaths of currently free or underpriced on-street parking will stir up a massive outcry from those currently privileged enough to benefit from it: voters who happen to live in Sheldon Silver and Christine Quinn’s districts. If community boards are any indication, many of these parkers will be among the most politically active, and will include thousands of politically powerful municipal workers.

    Quinn and Silver — key players in the pricing drama — will have to weigh whether stripping thousands of their constituents of free parking is outweighed by the few hundred million in additional revenue that the parking/pricing coupling would produce. Politics are very retail and these sums are relatively small. (Approximate budgets: MTA=$10 billion NYC=$55 billion, NYState=$130 billion.)All this said, if the additional revenue would forestall a fare hike, maybe it would be worthwhile.

    Lastly, while pricing streets and parking should work complement each other as they do in London, the great thing about parking reform from a political perspective is that you can implement parking changes block by block. That kind of incrementalism is more easily achived than the mayor’s other major transportation initiatives like BRT or congestion pricing.

  • JF

    Sounds sensible but there is a huge obstacle. Pricing wide swaths of currently free or underpriced on-street parking will stir up a massive outcry from those currently privileged enough to benefit from it: voters who happen to live in Sheldon Silver and Christine Quinn’s districts. If community boards are any indication, many of these parkers will be among the most politically active, and will include thousands of politically powerful municipal workers.

    Yes, but from the Observer article, it sounds like McCaffrey and friends were willing to take on that obstacle. If you think they can be counted on to make that effort, then the Manhattan community board people and uncivil servants would effectively be isolated against the combined forces of the Mayor’s and Governor’s Offices, the real estate players, transit interests and T.A. (and the rest of the coalition).

    Of course, that’s a big “if.” The anti-CP folks might promise to work to pass parking reform, but then – whoops! Sorry guys, you win some, you lose some!

  • JF

    Correction – I meant to list the Bronx and Queens community board types as being brought into the “pro” camp by McCaffrey, Weprin et al., against their Manhattan counterparts.

  • J. Coleman

    The question, as I see it, is that you live within a certain perimeter, and others which live outside of that perimeter come into this perimeter to work and visit. The parking problem, and the congestion problem, is one and the same. Personal vehicles used by one person take up too many resources jsy by their space volumn. It is my belief that London has it right as to the parking spaces and residential permits and such. Just think for a moment of a city full of people which get around by walking. Then, add in the cost (current) of mass transit. Then, add in the cost of all roads, bridges, parking garages and associated infrastructure such as traffic signals, traffic police, signage and so forth. Don’t add in the cost of parking meters. Once you have the cost of roads and so forth, find the average size of the foot print of an average vehicle (8’x20′?). Whatever. Calculate the square footage of roadway available for use in the city and divide this figure into the total cost of the infrastructure equalling the square footage cost. This is also the cost of parking by square footage of the parking space. One could link intrinsic costs such as the health costs of pollution and carbon tax as well as any contamination due to gasoline or oil spillage and the costs of cleanup or damage estimates.
    One looses sight of the never ending costs of building an internal combustion vehicle system over the course of close to a hundred years but would it be the same if we used electric cars? Yes, we’d still be faced with the problem of too many vehicles in too little space. To be equitable, people who usually live in those areas usually pay more in costs, and taxes than those who commute so the break should go to the local dwellers. If those who wish to commute with personal vehicles still continue to do so, they should pay higher fees and those permits should be alloted, as in the London model.
    Business density has, after all, just externalized their building costs and passed this cost onto the people. Transportation to and from has real costs just as living in that environment has costs. The city government should not put the costs unto its’ citizens but rather those who just use the facilities for their personal gain.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    I agree, J., but don’t forget the carnage costs. It may be hard to put a number on, but in a lot of ways it’s the biggest cost of all.

  • JK

    JF — I think McCaffrey et al embrace parking reform as a political spoiler to derail congestion pricing, not because they are at all serious about it. I think they see a broad parking reform as even less politically palatable to Quinn and Silver and the council, in particular, than congestion pricing. This same City Council voted overwhelmingly to make meters free on sundays. Is it at all realistic to think this same council would come back with a largescale plan to price thousands of currently free spots on side streets?
    Councilmembers support residential parking permits as long as they are free. But for residential permits to help reduce congestion, they have to cost something.

    Imagine the charges of unfairness if permits in Quinn or Silver’s district were priced at a level that would be meaningful enough to reduce parking demand.

    Another scenario is a “Battle of the Placards” in which newly permitted residential parkers attempted to display thousands of cops, firemen and other govt placard holders.

    I am a huge advocate of parking reform, but it seems most plausible to see it coming in increments of a few blocks or at the most in relatively small areas, beginning around the BIDS. All this said, if pricing fails, it would be nice to see McCaffrey and company’s efforts give a boost to parking reform. Mayoral contender Weiner has already talked about it.

  • steve

    JK is right on how to implement parking reform: (1) replace traditional meters with muni-meters then gradually (and almost costlessly) raise prices; and (2) nibble away at non-metered spaces on commercial streets and side streets adjacent to already-metered commercial strips. No single step in the process will be sufficient to catalyze a movement against the overall program.

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Parking Reform: Reduce Congestion & Raise Money Minus Albany

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With congestion pricing stalled in Albany gridlock, what’s next? What immediate measures can New York City take to reduce traffic congestion without having to go through Albany to implement them? How else might New York City reduce traffic congestion while raising a bit of money for transit, bicycling and pedestrian improvements? Back in May, Transportation […]

Pricing Friends and Foes Find Common Ground in Shoup

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Matthew Schuerman at the Observer reports that New York City congestion pricing opponents sought to commission UCLA urban planning guru Donald Shoup to do a study of New York City’s parking policies. Shoup declined their request. Presumably, congestion pricing opponents hoped a Shoup study might show that New York City could solve some portion of […]

Push for Congestion Pricing Spurs Parking Reform

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  It may not have been Mayor Bloomberg’s intention when he proposed congestion pricing, but he has put reforming curbside parking policies front and center. Desperate for "alternatives" to pricing, opponents have borrowed proposals to hike curbside parking rates, and price free curb spaces. These parking reforms which would significantly reduce double-parking and traffic snarling […]

The Power of Parking Policy

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This is the third in a three-part series on New York City parking policy.Part 1: The New York City Parking Boom  Part 2: Parking: If You Build it They Will Come… in Their Cars Over the course of the last year, New York City’s transportation policy community has spent tremendous time, energy and money pursuing […]

There’s No Such Thing as “Free Parking”

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Free parking, it turns out, isn’t free. A new study by transportation guru Bruce Schaller finds that free parking in Manhattan’s Central Business district is responsible for a significant amount of New York City’s staggering traffic congestion. Schaller’s new study, Congested Streets: The Skewed Economic Incentives to Drive Into Manhattan (PDF), finds that free parking […]

Pricing Advocates Call for Impact Study and New Parking Policies

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Congestion pricing advocate Carolyn Konheim and consulting partner Brian Ketcham are advising the Bloomberg administration to drop its resistance to a congestion pricing Environmental Impact Study. The two say a study is needed to head off "likely 11th hour litigation" aimed at stopping the three-year pilot program from taking effect, a possibility Streetsblog alluded to […]