Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Residential parking permit pricing (the third rail of local politics)

Georgetown Metropolitan writes in "Raise Parking Fees on Multi-Car Households First" about the proposals to raise rates for residential parking permits in DC, as a revenue raising mechanism in the face of city revenue shortfalls in the face of constantly falling tax revenues.

The entry doesn't favor increasing the rates across the board, recommending that additional permits beyond one for each household ought to be where prices are increased.

I have written about this issue quite a bit over the years. And our neighborhood planning process in 2001 suggested this. It was never done. And later in the Williams Administration's last term, it was suggested to raise residential parking permit fees and it never happened as a result of massive outcry.

There is no question that from a market standpoint, the price of a permit, $15/year, is extremely under-priced as a space in the most desirable neighborhoods is worth between $2,000 and $3,000 per year from a monthly fee standpoint.

It makes no sense to have a permit cost so little, when the cost of maintain roads, not alone the space is significantly more than $15/year.

Raise the price of the parking permit overall, for the first permit, and more for additional permits.

Why should it be "either/or" when an "and/and" policy makes so much more sense from a public policy/transportation demand management perspective.

Toronto is about the only city I know that is gutsy on residential parking permit pricing. They do vary the price depending on whether or not the household has access to off-street parking, but the prices are significantly higher than those in places like DC.

According to the Toronto city website section on parking permits, these are the prices they charge:

Permit fees vary according to a priority system based on need as reflected below:

• No access to on-site parking for resident's first vehicle:
$13.15/month plus GST / HST
• No access to on-site parking for resident's second and any subsequent vehicles:
$32.87/month plus GST / HST
• Resident does have access to on-site parking (permit is for convenience):
$46.02/month plus GST / HST

This makes more sense to me. The price for the first permit is significantly discounted, and is nowhere near market price, but it is significantly more than the negligible fees charged in DC.

Think of it this way, if it costs $200/year to rent a bike locker at a Metro station, certainly a residential parking permit ought to cost at least that much.

And I just checked San Francisco. While they don't charge higher fees for additional permits beyond one, because of past abuses, they limit to four the number of parking permits that may be issued per household.

They charge $96/year/permit, which is much higher than DC.
The Ford F-350 is wider than the typical Capitol Hill rowhouse
Top image: on the north side of Lincoln Park, on East Capitol Street SE. Bottom image: 400 block of A Street SE in Capitol Hill SE, Washington.DC

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