martes, 25 de marzo de 2008

Curious way of easing traffic jams in the city

Jose Luis, director of the Trade Commission of Spain in Chicago, sent me yesterday a link to an article about the licitation for the public parking meters in Chicago, and a link to an opinion article about why they should raise the fare of the on street public parkings...

I cannot resist some things... one of them is a nice argumentation... you know it!

Here is the link to the full article about why they should raise the fare:

Here is my small contribution to the subject.

I couldn't disagree more on this subject.

"Free curb spaces are hard to come by during busy times, especially in commercial areas".
In Chicago, or Manhattan, for example, free curb spaces in commercial areas/downtown, are not hard to find... they just don’t exist. The only thing you will find alike are the free 2 hours parking when you do some shopping.

"Because curb spaces are so much cheaper than garages, drivers continue to cruise for spaces"
Well, I don't like to have to pay 12$ for half an hour of parking. Do you?

"In their view, the “shortage” of on-street spaces results because the spaces are under priced".
I would say that is pretty simplistic. The problem is not price of the on-street spaces. As you say later on in your own thoughts, many families have one car per person, and I am not talking only about the wealthiest ones. May be the problem is not only the price, may be the problem is also in the demand of those on street spaces.

“As a result, drivers cause huge amounts of wasted time, fuel, and unnecessary traffic.”
Well, I would wish that they only cause that when they search for a cheap curb space. This is not the place, but in this country people just like to create traffic jams. If anyone has visited other countries, they must have realized how fluent the traffic is, even with many more cars on the roads.

“These spaces should instead be priced high enough to ensure a few empty spaces at all times”
Well, excuse me? First, that wouldn’t be anywhere close to optimum performance, it wouldn’t be in line with what “PUBLIC PARKINGS” are expected to be, and if you want a few empty spaces at all time, you can just go to those garages you mentioned in your second point.
I mean, that is your point, right? Not making public parking spaces so cheap… that is why you also have private garages, with a higher price, where you will most surely find empty spaces.

“During peak periods parking would be expensive, but at other times it would be much cheaper or even free.”
Taking into considerations that there is only peak hours and non peak hours, there should be only two fares. And that is already implemented. 25 cents per 6 minutes was the fare in the last place I parked in San Francisco.

“In my view, the equity of switching to performance parking depends on 1) who’s parking, 2) the costs of under pricing and 3) the result of market prices.”
Well, that is nice, but is that also valid for public parkings?

“We know wealthier families own more cars and drive them more often, and low-income households have limited access to cars or sometimes none at all.”
True… can we say then, that the problem in public on street parking is caused by those wealthier families that go downtown in different cars? Well, I don’t have the answer, but I am sure that would be a too simplistic approach, wouldn’t it?

“roughly 20% of the lowest income households have no car and that figure is likely much higher for Washington, D.C., where overall 37% of all households has no cars”.
I guess you want to make a point telling us that these people doesn’t have a car, and they don’t need an on street parking. So why should we include that in the “who is parking” section? Shouldn’t we include them in the “who is never going to use the on street parkings” section?

“Higher parking prices in Washington, D.C. will have almost no impact at all on 37% of the households without any private vehicles whatsoever, a group that includes many of the city’s poorest.”
Now… that is a conclusion! Why don’t we rise the prices for everything that those city poorest will never use, or eat? Let’s start with the fresh vegetables and fruit, or let’s increment the medical costs or medical insurances, or the combustible for cars…

[The cost]
“In order to consider the true cost of on-street parking today, we must consider not simply the meter price but the costs of searching for a space.”
Well, that is true. And it is also true for private parkings, where you should take into consideration that the total price will be reduced, since you won’t be searching for a spaces for as long as you would if you were in the street.

“If the curb spaces are sufficiently congested because of under pricing, the search for parking can cost cruisers significantly - up to or more than the amount of off-street commercial parking”
Let me see… last time I was parking in San Francisco, I had to choose between paying 25 cents every 6 minutes, or $3 every half an hour. That is for half an hour: $1.25 or $3, or for one full hour it would be $2.25 against $6… wow! That would be $3.75 difference! A full gallon of gas! May be we should start worrying about fuel consumption instead of on-street or off-street parkings!

[Market prices]
“Market pricing will raise the price paid but slash the cost of waste by encouraging turnover of parking spaces, allowing the same number of spaces to serve more people.”
Now I don’t understand exactly how paying more for the on-street space will help the line at the shop move faster, or finish that job interview sooner, or shorten the duration of the film. I don’t leave the car parked just to don’t let other people use it. I park the car, when I have to do some shopping, or because I have a job meeting out of my office, or because I have any other thing to do, not for the fun of parking the car there! So I would be interested in knowing how rising the price, will make me (and the rest of the world) do more things in less time! It would be the greatest invention ever!!!

“Performance parking also has the positive side-effect of easing traffic and helping buses stay on schedule, improving the quality of the service of their riders”
There are many things that could be done to ease traffic, and help buses stay on schedule, and rising the prices of the on street parkings is not by far the best one. We can start by teaching how to de “performance driving” inside and outside the cities.

“higher parking prices in neighborhoods will speed re-use of vacant building, stimulate depressed urban neighborhoods, and even re-orient planning towards the needs of neighborhood residents:”
Of course, I would love to have to pay to leave my car in the street every evening, and even having to go downstairs to put more money every two hours! I am sure that will make me decide to rent a house in that neighborhood.
Hey! I am serious: you have to see the positive side! As far as we have some parking personnel on the neighborhood, I won’t have some “low-income-car” parked in front of my house! It’s the price I want to pay to draw a line between those that can pay for parking and those who cannot!
Do you truly think this will help the residents in any way? How much money can you get from parking meters in residential area?

“Because neighborhoods will have real money to spend and real choices to make, the residents’ preferences will acquire new weight and real community participation will be necessary. Concentrating planners’ attention on the task of improving older neighborhoods may well be one of the new parking paradigm’s most important benefits”
As I said before, let me know how much money you can make from residential neighborhoods and the cost of any of those “tasks” to improve the neighborhoods, plus the wage of the personnel required to check the parking meters. Is that the best approach to get some funds to improve the neighborhood?

“If increased parking revenue captured at the neighborhood level has this effect even at a small level, it seems like a policy that could benefit all residents, regardless of income.”
It will surely help those families that have low income… why wouldn’t they want to pay to park their already old and fuel-hungry cars on the street?
You cannot really believe what you have written.

I can understand that you don’t mind paying a little bit extra for on-street public parking, because it’s hard to find a good spot to park, but that is the reason why we have private parkings at a more expensive fare. We can talk long about how an increment in the price will affect the way people park, and the conclusion is that it won’t affect how people will drive, or where they will park. To make a long story short, you still need a place to park, and you will pay no matter how much they ask you for (up to a “reasonable limit”, of course). But the so called in your argumentation “low income families” will also pay for it, so it won’t solve any problem.

There are some things that can be done to ease the traffic in the cities, but raising the price of the parkings is not a solution.

No hay comentarios: