A Parking-Focused Alternative to Congestion Pricing

Congestion management using parking strategies would be more politically palatable while delivering significant outcomes.

2 minute read

September 27, 2018, 2:00 PM PDT

By Camille Fink

Jay Primus outlines a three-pronged approach for New York to tackle congestion through parking-related measures. The first part would prohibit monthly parking and instead require parking be offered in hourly increments, as a way to encourage people to think about each driving trip they make.

The second strategy, increasing the parking tax, would ease congestion and provide additional benefits, says Primus:

This is a straightforward, efficient and sensible way to gently discourage driving while helping to finance public transit improvements. As those with higher incomes are more likely to drive into the city, making parking cost a little more to subsidize public transit will improve equity.

The third part would require garages and lot operators to offer lower off-peak parking prices. This is another way to encourage drivers to consider their trips and shift their travel to off-peak hours, which would then spread vehicle travel out over time. This strategy, adds Primus, also is more politically acceptable:

The magic of this approach is that it is tantamount to a peak period surcharge but framed as an off-peak discount — no one (other than economists) likes peak period surcharges, but everyone loves a discount. The effect is the same but the political viability is crucially different.

Primus suggests that these strategies be used in conjunction with other congestion management tactics, including parking meter pricing, management of residential street parking, and transportation subsidies for employees instead of parking subsidies.

He also urges New York to adopt these strategies in order for it to be a leader in forward-thinking congestion management. “Cities are looking for ways to be smart — and this no-tech, no-cost, data-free and politically feasible approach to congestion management could be the smart way forward,” says Primus.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 in New York Times

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