Manhattan Parking Meter Rates Increase, Nobody Notices

Meter rates are up, and the world is still spinning on its axis. Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/luciuskwok/3155824511/##Lucius Kwok/Flickr##

Did you hear? It didn’t get press coverage, but a week ago rates for on-street parking in Manhattan below 110th Street increased by 50 cents. The lack of attention this story has gotten is truly amazing, given the media’s usual windshield perspective.

As of January 25, meters below 96th Street now charge $3.50 an hour, while hourly rates between 96th and 110th Streets increased to $1.50. In Manhattan above 110th Street and elsewhere in the city, rates remain at $1.00 per hour. The last time City Hall tried to raise meter rates farther out from the CBD, City Council members including Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca made a fuss, though the council eventually agreed to a 25-cent increase in 2011.

The most recent round of meter rate increases were part of the city’s effort to close a budget gap in November and are expected to bring in approximately $5.1 million annually. Another gap-closing measure will bring muni-meters to 428 previously unmetered spots in Lower Manhattan, which is projected to raise $6.7 million per year.

In a way it’s a shame that changes to meter prices are usually tied to budget-balancing efforts, since there’s a compelling transportation policy case to set the price of parking to ensure spots are available, reducing traffic caused by drivers cruising for open spaces. DOT has been making some headway on this front in a handful of neighborhoods with its PARK Smart reforms.

The rate hikes and new meters in Manhattan are a step in the right direction, as far as setting the right price is concerned. But there’s still a long way to go until the price of on-street spaces is comparable to off-street spaces. As long as that’s the case, Manhattan drivers will have an incentive to cruise for spots. Since the difference between on-street and off-street prices got a little smaller last week and nobody noticed, maybe the city can start shrinking the gap faster.

  • Eric McClure

    How ’bout writing some $350 tickets to the #@%&#$*#!s who lean on their horns for no good reason?  On a slow day, I bet I could hand out 20 grand’s worth of summonses.

  • J

    PARK Smart seems to have stalled, which is a shame. While NYC has been fumbling around with unpopular and poorly conceived meter privatization schemes, San Francisco has been expanding its successful SFPark program. What happened? Why are we dropping the ball no this one? We have horrific curb access issues, rampant double parking, and excess congestion stemming from cruising for parking, yet no one at the city seems to give a damn. 

    Curb access problems are a big reason why anything but parking protected bike lanes are a joke. Even protected lanes are often clogged by double parked cars that block lanes wherever they can be squeezed in.

  • Clarke

    Who cares! This is like when they raise the smoking tax. 

  • Victor

    During the last few years Mayor Bloomberg has attacked the working class who work in the city by increasing the muni meter parking cost from $1.00/hour to $3.50/hour. He has also extended the muni meter parking end times from 6pm to 10pm. And if that was not enough he has also started to Muni meters in places where they never existed before and set their Muni Meter parking end times till 10pm. The evening working class who work nights and over night suffer. I live in Staten Island and I have child care issues that don’t allow to give myself 2 hours to get into work through public transportation yet alone the 3hrs it would take for me to get home after hours. Bloomberg has his foot on the necks of every working class who drives into work at night not because they want to but because they have to.

  • Ian Turner

    If you live so far from work, maybe you should move? Just a thought.

  • Andrew

    Most working class New Yorkers don’t own cars (let alone drive them to work).

  • geo

    is there a list or web site of the muni meter locations?

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