DOT Asks Public for Ideas on Shoupian Parking Program

meters.jpgMore livable streets news out of Manhattan’s Community Board 2. This Thursday, at the request of DOT, CB2 will hold a public strategy session to consider how variable-rate parking might work in the district. If participants determine that such a program would benefit the neighborhood, said CB2’s Ian Dutton, DOT has pledged to implement a six-month pilot program starting in September.

Variable-rate parking, advocated most famously by UCLA professor Donald Shoup and given a boost last week by Transportation Alternatives, applies a market-based mechanism to meter prices, charging more during peak hours. The policy promises to cut congestion by reducing the distance drivers travel cruising for spots, which according to T.A.’s recent study [PDF] adds up to millions of miles throughout the city each year.

In flyers distributed for the meeting, DOT calls the proposal "Peak Rate Parking" and says a pilot program would test the following:

  • If turnover at meters increase during peak periods
  • If double-parking decreases
  • If drivers “circle” less to find a space
  • If buses can pull to the curb more frequently

According to Dutton, DOT is currently undertaking a study of parking demand in the neighborhood to give meeting participants a sense of what different meter rates will accomplish. Public input will strongly influence how DOT proceeds. "They want to let the neighborhood come up with ideas," said Dutton.

People who live or work in the vicinity of Community District 2 can play a role in shaping this critical policy reform this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center — 3 Clarkson Street, 3rd Floor.

Photo: the wicked witch of the east/Flickr

  • Shemp

    Hopefully no one at the forum will use the term “Shoupian”

  • Jeffrey Hymen

    I propose that we give this idea a try in all five Community Boards 2. (Okay, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island can opt out if they want to.)

  • da

    Wait! Won’t this unfairly penalize low-income drivers? Soon the only people who will be able to afford to park will be the rich! And what about an Environmental Impact Statement?


  • The most important thing is to convert spots from unmetered to metered. The shift from “free” to “not free” is much bigger than any tweaking of rates (though I agree with market pricing of all metered spaces as well).

  • Bill

    I think this is a really poor excuse for generating more parking revenue. People are going to pay whatever the rate is at the meter. If it means paying $0.25 more, then so be it.
    In my opinion, this will only cause great confusion, more tickets for people who don’t pay properly, and more accidents. More accidents? Let me explain:
    My understanding of this technology is that people will be able to see on their cell phones/blackberry/etc. where there are free spots. Has anyone actually given this any thought? Do you want drivers looking at their phones/electronic devices to find parking spots, while driving?
    G-d forbid, but after a few casualties and accidents, maybe the brains behind the city will realize that this is a bad idea.
    And one more point. The environmentalists who thought this up are very short-sighted. In the event that people do pull over to look for spots, do you think they’ll switch off the car? Of course not! They’ll leave it idling. I can’t believe anyone thinks this is a good idea.

  • anon

    Bill – I don’t think you understand the basic concept of this. Please re-read.

  • Max Rockatansky

    Bill is the perfect example of why this will be hard to sell, no offense. As I understand it, the idea is to price the spots high enough so that there is never a shortage of space. This will mean raising the prices to the level of parking garages, to dissuade people from driving in the first place. We’re not talking about prices going up by 25 cents, think more along the lines of $10-$15 dollars. There will be cries of elitism – if you think congestion pricing was a tough sell you ain’t seen nothing yet.


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