Should more restrictive and exclusive residential parking restrictions trigger higher prices for permits?
Of course, the average resident thinks they give plenty of money to their local government already, but the pricing of parking provides one of the key signals (along with limited supply and burgeoning demand) that encourages people to make more sustainable mobility choices.
My biggest problem with DC's "performance parking" and various other " pilot programs," is that for the most part, almost every action of the program has provided greater exclusivity and privilege for residents without residents having to pay more for the increased privileges. And they deny use of the parking resource to other users with equal compelling reasons for using the resource.
From the standpoint of economics, this sends the wrong pricing signal. In economics, when demand is high, you charge more, especially when there is a limited supply of the resource. (In general, DC's parking permit programs seem to be focused on doing anything and everything but charging more, which tends to be the policy that best allocates resources in high demand.)
The September 4th issue of the Dupont Current has an article on the front page, "City lets residents seek stricter parking limits," which states:
"... residents can now request extra parking restrictions on their blocks. ... 'Enhanced Residential Parking Permit' limitations set aside one side of a street exclusively for cars with a permit for that parking zone, instead of offering non-residents a two-hour window."
Problems with residential parking are multiple:
- residents typically believe that they are entitled to parking on the street (a "right" vs. a "privilege")
- especially in front of their domicle
- and that their privileges should come first, before other potential users of the space, regardless of whether or not other users include residents from other parts of the city, or if other use of the space could support more sustainable mobility choices.
Currently, the price for a DC residential parking permit is $35/year. With a couple of exceptions, few cities in North America charge much for permits. Seattle and Vancouver have 3 different prices, topping out between $65 and $75/year--Vancouver is the highest, with the highest rates charged in the densest neighborhoods, which have the greatest demand for street parking. Seattle also charges a higher fee for additional permits. Vancouver also charges for visitor pass parking ($5.25 for commercial users, like contractors; $10.50 per week for household guests).
San Francisco charges $109 per year. Toronto charges three different rates, with the highest rate, almost $50/mo., charged to households which possess off-street parking.
• DC doesn't charge differential rates that are higher in denser neighborhoods.
• DC doesn't charge more for permits to those houses which have on-site off-street parking (which encourages such households in high-demand neighborhoods to get a street parking permit and rent their off-street parking)
• DC doesn't charge more for each additional permit issued to a single household
• DC doesn't charge more for larger vehicles
I would argue that in neighborhoods where "Performance Parking" is in place and on streets where "Enhanced Residential Parking" has been instituted--in both cases, residents receive exclusive access to one side of the street, and at least with Performance Parking, a visitor pass (which can be significantly misused as well)--that the price for an annual permit should be significantly increased, commensurate with the enhanced value of the privilege.
I don't know what would be the right price, but it should be significantly more than the current rate. To start, I'd peg the price at $100 to $125/year.
A visitor pass should probably not be issued straight up, and without a fee, and could be done through an online process.