NYC parking policy and parking tickets
“The dysfunction caused by poorly conceived parking policies is a major impediment to creating an effective and balanced urban transportation system, it is also a significant cause of traffic and air pollution.”
U.S. Parking Policies: An Overview of Management Strategies (Institute for Transportation and Development Policy), Rachel Weinberger, John Kaehny, Matthew Rufo.
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, the automobile was king. It was by far the preferred mode of travel and usually ended up at a destination with free parking. Zoning laws forced developers to create the smallest number of parking spaces with each new development. That was then…This is now.
Today there are many stakeholders fighting to be heard about allocating urban space. For example:
- Livable Streets: Advocates fight for a more livable environment in our cities. You may wish to check out Streetsblog NYC, (including streets education and streets films). Professor Donald Appleyard. Transportation Alternatives.
- Bicycling: NY Velocity (advocate for biking challenges), Streetsblog NYC. There is an interesting “conversation” going on between the NY Post and Streetsblog.org about an article published in the NY Post on Monday about bicyclists.
- Pedestrian access to safe streets: NYC Department of Transportation sponsors a gaggle of initiatives, pilot programs, and studies
- Bus Lanes: More rules, more enforcement. For example, bus lane cameras.
- NYC driving public: NYC Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, NYC Council Member David Greenfield, NYC Council Member Daniel Drumm, NYC Council Member, Daniel Halloran, Assemblyman Michael DenDekker, among others, New York Parking Ticket, LLC (That’s us…Yea!)
The automobile may become an urban dinosaur
With a growing number of people forcefully advocating for inclusion in the urban planning conversation, bus lanes, bike lanes, pedestrian safety initiatives are sprouting up. Here are some parking facts of life in NYC, as reported in a terrific study entitled, U.S. Parking Policies: An Overview of Management Strategies (Institute for Transportation and Development Policy), Rachel Weinberger, John Kaehny, Matthew Rufo:
New York City is the largest, densest and most transit and pedestrian-oriented city in the United States. It is the only U.S. city in which a majority of households do not have a car. Despite this, New York City is very much an American city in the way it under prices and under uses curbside parking meters. Meter rates are far lower than in other leading world cities, and New York suffers from high levels of cruising and double parking. Only a small percentage of New York streets are metered (the city has 32 percent fewer meters per head than Chicago, for example): all are on retail strips and in the Manhattan Central Business District.
Like other U.S. cities, curbside parking rates in New York City are largely determined by politics, not by policy goals.”
Here are three curbside parking initiatives sponsored by NYC:
- NYC Commercial Congestion Parking Program. In 2000, the NYC DOT began metering commercial parking in the CBD (“Commercial Business District”) using escalating hourly rates and modern, multi-space, “Muni-meters.” By 2009, the NYC Commercial Congestion Parking Program had steadily expanded to include about 8,000 curbside parking spaces available only to commercial vehicles. The meters cover a two by one-half mile swath of Manhattan from 60th Street to 14th Street. Rates for commercial vehicles are $2 for the first hour, $3 for the second, and $4 for the third hour. Muni-meters accept coins, credit cards, and pre-paid parking cards. According to DOT internal studies, commercial parking availability has increased and double-parking and overall traffic delays have decreased.”
- ParkSmart. In October 2008, the NYC DOT introduced ParkSmart at 281 metered spots in Manhattan’s transit- and pedestrian-oriented Greenwich Village. ParkSmart is an opt-in program in which DOT approaches community planning boards and asks for their participation. The articulated goal of the program is to increase curbside availability and cut circling and double parking. By 2014, ParkSmart will include six neighborhood pilot programs encompassing 1,500 to 2,000 existing meters, and no new meters. In May 2009, a second pilot began in Park Slope Brooklyn. During the six-month trial period in Greenwich Village, DOT raised meters rates from $1 to $2 an hour during the peak 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. period. The project was well received by the public and the rates have been adjusted to $3 since then, reducing curbside occupancy during peak times. All the meters are programmed to allow a maximum of one paid hour, which limits the convenience of meter feeding for an extended period. “ParkSmart is noteworthy because it is a thoughtful, sustained effort by a major city to change public attitudes towards higher meter rates.” U.S. Parking Policies, supra at p.64. The DOT is well aware of the problems caused by underpriced curbside parking. Well-publicized studies by the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives found that circling for parking accounted for 28 percent of vehicular traffic in Lower Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood, and 45 percent of traffic in Park Slope, Brooklyn. But neighborhood political resistance to raising meter rates remains very high. DOT hopes that positive results in ParkSmart neighborhoods will help create a new public consensus throughout the city that higher meter rates are a benefit.Grand Street Protected Bicycle Lane
Using curbside parking to protect bicyclists
- On Lower Manhattan’s Grand Street, the NYC DOT used on-street parking to create a low-cost, protected bicycle lane. The DOT moved curbside parking to the first traffic lane and a painted a curbside lane. The project is a model for how to quickly reprogram road space freed up when on-street parking is properly priced. Eliminating circling and double parking creates substantial excess street capacity which can be reprogrammed for bicyclists and pedestrians, or which will otherwise draw more through traffic
FREE LINK, U.S. Parking Policies: An Overview of Management Strategies (Institute for Transportation and Development Policy), Rachel Weinberger, John Kaehny, Matthew Rufo. [Larry’s note: Incredibly terrific, must-read study, if you own a car, or venture outside from your apartment/house/condo in NYC. 86pps].
[Model T image courtesy of Wikipedia]