UES Park Smart Pilot Goes Where NYC Meter Rates Have Never Gone Before

UESParkSmart.pngPark Smart’s third pilot area will bring peak hour parking rates more in line with demand on the Upper East Side. Image: NYCDOT

We wrote yesterday about the expansion of the Park Smart pilot in Park Slope, but that’s not the only neighborhood where the program is on the move. As of June, the Upper East Side became the third neighborhood to gain a Park Smart pilot [PDF]. Like a lot of things on the Upper East Side, peak hour on-street parking there is now the most expensive in the city. 

The new Park Smart zone covers 86th Street between First and Madison Avenues, Madison between 86th and 79th, and small spurs of 85th, 83rd, and 82nd off of Madison. Along those stretches, parking is now priced at $2.50 per hour from 9 a.m. to noon and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. In the afternoon peak hours, on-street spaces go for $3.75 per hour, making them the most expensive on-street spaces in the city. 

In comparison, single-space meters in the neighborhood charge $1.50 per hour, while the Greenwich Village Park Smart program charges $3.00 for peak hours, according to the DOT website

Of course, the more important comparison may be to the price of off-street spaces. Parking for one hour mid-afternoon at the ICON Alert garage, located on 85th at Madison, costs $22. With or without Park Smart, on-street spaces remain one of the best deals in New York City.

The neighborhood hasn’t complained much about the increased rates, according to Michael Auerbach, president of the local civic group Upper Green Side, who attributed much of his neighborhood’s traffic problem to cheap metered parking and the thousands of free alternate side parking spaces. "We hope the city continues to introduce innovative parking programs like Park Smart in other parts of the Upper East Side soon," he said.

  • Even before charging for side-street parking, DOT could simply add muni-meters to the full length of Park Avenue, which is currently free parking in the Upper East Side. I’m sure there will be concerns over aesthetics if this subject is ever broached, but I don’t see how it’s justified to have one of the wealthiest Avenues in the whole city get free (and therefore subsidized) parking.

  • MRN

    The DOT site is out-of-date – the peak rate in the west village is $3.75, same as upper eastside.

  • BicyclesOnly

    The new rate is still shockingly low for Madison, but seems appropriate for 86th. Glenn’s right that more curbside parking in Manhattan should be priced, but I wouldn’t target neighborhoods based on real or presumed income. Neighborhood should be targeted based on observed saturation, cruising and double-parking rates.

  • JK

    Great, let’s do pay by phone on Park Avenue. Make it the pilot for the aesthetes so concerned about “unsightly” meters, and so unconcerned about the glorious appearance of double parked cars. Actually, seems likely that the Park Avenue mall falls into the arbitrary class of non-retail, professional storefronts, which are currently unmetered in NYC. Shrinks and dentists get free parking, bodegas get metered. Central Park West is another example of unmetered, high demand curb.

  • Driver

    It’s a trade-off. Free parking means much less turnover. Metered parking gives you a much better chance at getting a spot, but you cant stay long. I have been to the UES for doctors appointments. The metered spots are useless because they are only for one hour.

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