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Congestion Pricing

Driving to the Hospital Is Already Expensive

11:15 AM EDT on March 28, 2008

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Adding an $8 congestion fee to already steep parking rates will speed trips for vehicles that really need to get to the hospital.

On Monday, Rohit Aggarwala explained to City Council members that most New Yorkers would have an easier time getting to the hospital if congestion pricing takes effect. Here's another reason not to grant a congestion fee exemption for hospital trips. Assuming you follow the advice of most hospitals and don't waste time trolling for an on-street spot, driving to a major medical facility inside the proposed congestion zone is already an expensive proposition.

A four-hour stint at Beth Israel's parking facility costs $23. At NYU Medical Center's garage, the price is $24, according to BestParking.com. St. Vincent's? $25. (And no, you can't get it validated.) Bellevue is cheaper -- $12 -- but only 7-10 visitors park there each day, according to a hospital spokesman.

This price range is representative of the going rate for four hours of parking at any garage south of 60th Street, which varies from $18 to $42.

Are cost-conscious New Yorkers -- whom pricing foes claim will be hit hard by the fee -- driving to hospitals and paying these parking fees in significant numbers? Not at Bellevue. "I would say the vast majority of visitors get here by transit," said the Bellevue spokesman. "There are access vans dropping people off, a steady stream of cabs, the crosstown bus. The subway is five blocks away." All these trips will be speedier thanks to congestion pricing.

Photo: tom_hoboken/Flickr

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