Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Congestion Pricing and Parking Fees Are Linked

NYC Mayor Bloomberg's Traffic Congestion Mitigation Committee met on September 25 and the connection between parking and congestion pricing was immediately put on the table. The meeting was reported on by the NY Sun and Gotham Gazette. The Committee, which expects to hold forums in all five boroughs and Nassau and Westchester counties before wrapping up by January 31 next year, was informed that average speeds in Manhattan's three central business districts drop the speeds as slow as 6-10 mph.

Assemblywoman Vivian Cook, a committee member, worried that parts of her district in Queens could be heavily used for parking by those avoiding the congestion charges and taking subways into Manhattan. The director of NYC's Long-Term Planning and Sustainability Office, Rohit Aggarwala, responded that this problem could be remedied with a review of parking permits and meters in the area.

Her concern and the City's response show the far-sightedness of the late Columbia Professor William Vickrey, whose 1992 plan (http://preview.tinyurl.com/yv33ed) to address congestion in NYC linked congestion pricing to a review of parking permits and fees.