Today’s Headlines

  • Fidler, Comrie, Liu Weigh Pricing’s Prospects (Queens Courier)
  • Ratner Lied About Potential Tax Revenue From Atlantic Yards (B’klyn Paper)
  • Put Hudson Yards On Hold Til Economy Picks Up, Says Ex-MTA Chief (Sun)
  • MTR: NJ Road-Widening Projects ‘Will Provide No Long-Term Congestion Relief’
  • Garden State Hasn’t Given Up On Livable Streets Projects (MTR)
  • City Judge Rules That Double-Parking Ban Applies to All (News)
  • Operation Secret Rider Keeping Cabbies Off Phones (AM)
  • Sun: More Permits for Veggie-Selling Street Vendors = ‘Public Nuisance’
  • California Won’t Build Toll Road Through State Park (NYT)
  • Scientists Find Ethanol May Worsen Global Warming (Gristmill)
  • Bicycling Guru Sheldon Brown Is Dead at 63 (Bike Commute Tips)
  • ddartley

    The first news coverage I had seen for “Operation Secret Rider” focused exclusively on things like rudeness and credit card refusal. I was a little annoyed to see no mention of enforcement against actual dangerous driving and speeding. I sent an e-mail to the T&LC expressing these concerns and they wrote me back saying that any and all vioations would be cited. Just sharing in case anyone else had the same concerns.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I have a thought about residential parking permits, and wonder what you think.

    One of the problems with the viewpoint of people like those on Streetsblog is that they often push back against parochial selfishness (my car) instead of going with it (everyone else’s car). For example, someone reported that in Queens some residents suggested letting the people who already have cars park for free, while prohibiting new people from parking to make their parking easier.

    My first response is “that’s just typical of the unearned privilege mentality of the political class.” And it is. But there is another way to look at it. Let the people of the past live in the past, but try to attract and gradually replace them with the people of the future.

    The residential parking permit proposals have a very nominal charge. To me, something like $25 per month would be more appropriate.

    How about allowing those whose cars were registered and insured in a NYC neighborhood on January 1, 2008 to pay the nominal charge, with just an adjustment for inflation. But require all new people to pay the higher charge. And, in places where a “parking shortage” is agreed to exist, only issue new permits as the existing permits are given up?

    That would mean the city was handing out a special privilege to those who already have it good at the expense of everyone else. That is exactly what our City Council members, state legislators, borough presidents etc. and all those involved with them love to do.

    Many of those in the political class are what might be termed “accidental New Yorkers.” They were born here, they didn’t choose to live here, and they are not here because of the things that make NYC different from, say, Houston. Quite the contrary. What this policy would say is that those who come here would have to do so with the idea that they would live a certain way.

    It wouldn’t be fair. But then again, if your grandfather didn’t have them, you aren’t going to get tickets to a New York Giants gave either.

  • Jonathan

    Well, Larry, intriguing post there.

    My take on it as a selfish driver is YES. If I could now skip to the head of the line on my block, above taxis, commercial vehicles, and hoopties registered somewhere on the wrong side of the Mason-Dixon line, I would be a happy driver.

    And there’s plenty of precedent for “accidental New Yorkers” getting extra benefits: rent stabilization and control is most beneficial to people who have spent their entire lives in the same apartment.

    In general I find the entitlement mentality a little stifling. But is it any worse, really, than rich people feeling entitled to everything?

  • Larry Littlefield

    (In general I find the entitlement mentality a little stifling. But is it any worse, really, than rich people feeling entitled to everything?)

    I would certainly agree than in NYC you are squeezed between the two types of entitlement, as far as public policy is concerned. Good thing we have a legacy from more enlightened times that makes the place attractive to everyone else.

    The thing is, the rich people getting over on everyone in the marketplace (consumer, labor, investment) have to con people to do it. They can’t force them. So if you don’t allow Madison Avenue to determine how to live your one and only life, you can fight back.

    What makes the government the government is force. It is not optional. Which is good if it is forcing the selfish to do their fair share or refrain from doing harm, but really, really bad otherwise.

  • Jonathan

    (What makes the government the government is force. It is not optional.)
    I guess it comes down to who deserves a fair shake more? You have been very clear, Larry, on how CP is just the most recent battle between the political (maybe nativist is a better word) and the financial powers (gentry?) here in NYC.

    Obviously, the gentry’s take on RPP would be to charge whatever the market would bear for a neighborhood parking spot. This position uses language like “bear the real cost” to broaden its appeal among the middle class. Everyone wants rich people to stop getting over, and stop using municipal facilities for free, right?

    Right now, government uses alternate-side parking and limited curb space to ration street parking by time and availability, allowing people with more time than money (i.e., natives) to keep their motorcars.

    Now it seems to me that the gentry (as incarnated by their business interests) have an interest in bringing in more immigrants from outside our archipelago in order to keep wages down and rents high (real-estate companies need to maintain their wealth). This is what PlaNYC 2030 is all about: it’s the mayor’s promise to the gentry that New York will remain friendly to their interests by remaining a desirable place for their workers, who want decent transit (to get to work), decent housing, and parks and trees (for a more pleasant environment).

    Newcomers tend to line up with the gentry on transit and with the nativists on housing, preferring cheap digs in poor conditions to expensive, soulless corporatized housing like Battery Park City or Atlantic Yards. Luckily for the gentry, they have wealth and therefore the choice of where to live.

    So if you can create a temporary coalition between gentry and natives (financial and political) by allowing seniority-based RPP, I guess it would draw enough support. Rent stabilization, which is seniority-based rent control, certainly does.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (You have been very clear, Larry, on how CP is just the most recent battle between the political (maybe nativist is a better word) and the financial powers (gentry?) here in NYC.)

    I’d use the gentry (landed wealth) for the politcal powers. Their non-financial wealth comes from their private seizure of the public domain, and the ability to charge others “rent” for using it.

    For the corporate interest, to get French Revolutionary about it, you could say the bougousie. I would trust either to care about the peasants. But one side is offering a better deal.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I would NOT trust either to worry about the peasants, I should say.

  • I have been trying to promote the idea of carfree housing, which is a variation on Larry’s scheme.

    If new housing is surrounded by a permit parking zone, it can be built without any on-site parking but the residents do not get parking permits. (In some variants of the scheme, there are other conditions: residents must also sign a pledge that they will not have cars, the developer must provide a car sharing facility on site, etc.)

    That way, you replace the old people who are used to auto-dependency with new people who are not auto-dependent, as Larry says.

    But you do it in a way that is fair: as a compensation for not having a car, these people have a lower cost of housing, since it is cheaper to build housing without the parking requirement, and housing is sold/rented for less if there is no resident parking and will be for even less if residents are also not allowed to park on the street.

  • Hilary

    If the goal is to make the cost of parking on street and off-street roughly equal, with both priced to insure minimum vacancy (but not zero), then don’t we need to really eliminate private parking? Co-op’s and condo’s should not be allowed to sell parking spaces in their garages. All on-site parking should be available to the public and market rate.
    The big problem is what I called “grandfathered” parking privileges — all of those people (in both luxury bldgs and projects) with proprietary rights to a free or cheap parking space. Those spaces need to be “de-stablized” and brought back to the public market.
    All of this assumes, of course, no new parking capacity. The point is that the city will learn to share what exists, by moving to transit, zip cars, etc.

  • That’s a bold proposal, Hil. Expropriate all the private off-street parking space and distribute it according to overarching principles of justice and need. I’m with ya!