Monday, July 28, 2008

Breaking: A Healthy Dose Of Parking Policy Reform Could (And Should) Be Coming Soon To Philadelphia

No lie.
Mayor Nutter's point person on transportation says she's likely to recommend an increase in parking meter rates as part of a larger effort to ease congestion.
"You will drive around the block six times trying to find one of those dollar-an-hour spaces. So those on-street spaces really need to be more competitive with off-street parking rates, in order to get some of those folks off the streets and into garages."
This would likely be one of several recommendations she makes aimed at making Center City traffic flow more smoothly, such as how to deal with delivery trucks that double park, and how to make the commute easier for the growing number of people who bike to work.
Amen, people. A. Frickin’. Men.

Make no mistake about it — these reforms will be a godsend for the Philadelphia. And the best part about them is they’re going to benefit motorists AND pedestrians alike.

Just take a look at what some of our esteemed colleagues around the country are initiating in the way of parking policy reform:
While New York City is just beginning to revamp its 1950s-era parking policy, three other U.S. cities are leaping ahead by using higher metered rates, new technology and innovative new laws to cut traffic congestion. A new report released today, Pricing the Curb, shows how Chicago, San Francisco and Washington D.C. are all changing the way they charge and manage parking meters as a traffic reduction tool.

Each of these cities is raising the price of curbside parking to ensure one vacant space is available on every block in order to eliminate the need to "cruise" for parking, which contributes to 45% of some traffic on NYC streets.
Rina Cutler will probably want to get her hands on a copy of that report, (which she can do right here).

Meanwhile, Philadelphia should get cracking on this.
[Cutler:] "I'm expecting sometime in the fall to put some recommendations in front of the Mayor."
Really? Sometime in the fall?? Disappointing.

Said recommendations should be on the Mayor’s desk before Labor Day. For reals.

Seriously, Mayor Nutter — we know you have eight years and all, but you need to stop teasing us already and drop the effing hammer on some of this shit. Where's the urgency?

We are not talking rocket science here. Parking reform is extremely straightforward, and one of the most effective ways to ease congestion in downtowns. It should be fast-tracked.

Hell, we’ll even give you a head start. NYC is learning from friends — so can you.
* Chicago, Illinois: Use state-of-the-art parking meters that monitor parking space availability and adjust rates to ensure an open space on every block.

* Washington, D.C.: Return the additional revenue raised at meters to the streets where money is collected in the form of benches, street trees, bike lanes, pedestrian plazas and better bus service.

* San Francisco, California: Promote transit-oriented development with an inventory all off-street parking and by converting current minimum parking requirements to maximum parking allowances.
Also, we’ve appended below the five main points of the Transit Alternative's report (via StreetsBlog), just to make it that more easy on your team.

Whaddya say, Deputy Mayor for Transportation?? You like 'best practices'?
1. Raise curbside meter prices and employ variable pricing in key areas

Metering should be viewed as a tool to reduce double parking and cruising for parking. Premium curbside parking in the Manhattan Central Business District and adjoining neighborhoods is ten to fifteen times cheaper than off-street parking. In contrast, Chicago and San Francisco are introducing higher meter prices on thousands of meters in their central neighborhoods, and increasing meter hours. New York City business, planning and environmental groups recommend that the same should be done here.

2. Buy more Muni-Meters and try new parking technology

Modern meters are cheaper to maintain, more reliable, raise more money and are better at busting traffic congestion. San Francisco and Chicago are investing millions in state of the art parking meters, and electronic sensors which monitor curbside occupancy and automatically adjust parking rates. Meanwhile, New York City has a severe shortage of popular Muni-Meters, and has few meters capable of accepting credit cards.

3. Set meter rates citywide based on curbside vacancy, not politics

All three cities in this study are using vacancy targets to determine their meter prices. This means they are raising and lowering their meter rates so that at least one parking spot per block is always available. This practice eliminates most double parking and cruising traffic. In contrast, NYC meter rates vary widely depending on the community board and local politics.

4. Reinvest parking revenue in neighborhood transit, cycling and walking

Washington D.C. has created an innovative program to return the revenue from higher parking meter rates to neighborhood streetscape, bus, pedestrian and cycling projects. This has turned neighborhood skeptics into supporters of parking reform. Can you think of a few places that need sidewalk repair or better bike infrastructure in New York City? This type of reform could pay for it.

5. Monitor, enforce and cap off-street parking

San Francisco recognizes that more off-street parking means more driving. The city is "unbundling" the cost of parking from new residences, reducing or eliminating requirements for building parking near transit and exploring ride sharing as a way to reduce car ownership and use. In contrast, NYC City Planning, which is responsible for setting off-street parking requirements, does not know how much off-street parking there is, how much will be built, or how much traffic that parking will generate. New York City should develop a complete inventory of curbside and off-street parking for every borough, and measure the amount of traffic created by that parking. Most importantly, New York City needs to establish goals for the amount of parking it wants based on environmental and traffic targets.
Ok team, have at it.

Let's reform some goddamned antiquated parking policy already.

Nutter Aide Suggests Parking Meter Rate Increase [ KYW 1060 ]
New Report: NYC doesn't have to look far to bring curbside parking into the 21st Century [ Transit Alternatives ]
Transit Alternatives Urges Bloomberg Administration to Take the Lead in Parking Reform [ StreetsBlog ]

The Contrarian Makes An Inky Cameo, Attempts To Drop Boatloads Of Common Sense-Like Knowledge On Parking Authority Drones

1 comment:

Philadelphia Real Estate said...

RAISE the meter rates to match off street parking??? the reason people circle looking for a meter is that off street parking in center city is ridiculously expensive. Why don't we regulate the off street parking rates to provide more affordable parking in the city? Cab rates are regulated to encourage and support tourism and out of town visitors, why not make affordable parking an initiative to support business in Center City?