New Yorkers could spend a third of a million more hours a
year stuck in traffic if the “grace period” for parking violations voted
by the City Council this week becomes law.
That’s what the Balanced Transportation
Analyzer traffic-pricing model calculates, based on an assumed 10 percent drop in
issuance of parking tickets. While no one knows just how many fewer tickets
will be issued (none of the 47 council members voting aye on Intro
907 offered a guess), the manifold repercussions for enforcement — a narrower time window,
greater complexity, general undermining of traffic agents — suggest that a one-tenth
drop isn’t unreasonable.
Worsened gridlock follows automatically from making curbside
parking cheaper. The lessened likelihood of being served a parking ticket can
be expected to draw more auto trips into
and around town as well. The added congestion isn’t huge; most car trips not made are on account of other
factors, and only a tenth of all parking tickets are being assumed away. But the
impact will be visible.
Most of the estimated 334,000 hours lost, around 85 percent, will come from drivers outside the Manhattan Central Business District, putting an ironic stamp on
Council Member Tish James’ reminder to
the mayor that his narrow re-election was “a call from average New Yorkers
Note: Readers who want
to check the analysis in the BTA should head to the Parking worksheet, a dozen tabs from the back.