City Council Parking Giveaway Will Bring More Gridlock

New Yorkers could spend a third of a million more hours a year stuck in traffic if the “grace period” for parking violations voted by the City Council this week becomes law.

3672447574_f6f7a69255.jpgPhoto: @10/Flickr
That’s what the Balanced Transportation Analyzer traffic-pricing model calculates, based on an assumed 10 percent drop in issuance of parking tickets. While no one knows just how many fewer tickets will be issued (none of the 47 council members voting aye on Intro 907 offered a guess), the manifold repercussions for enforcement — a narrower time window, greater complexity, general undermining of traffic agents — suggest that a one-tenth drop isn’t unreasonable.

Worsened gridlock follows automatically from making curbside parking cheaper. The lessened likelihood of being served a parking ticket can be expected to draw more auto trips into Manhattan and around town as well. The added congestion isn’t huge; most car trips not made are on account of other factors, and only a tenth of all parking tickets are being assumed away. But the impact will be visible.

Most of the estimated 334,000 hours lost, around 85 percent, will come from drivers outside the Manhattan Central Business District, putting an ironic stamp on Council Member Tish James’ reminder to the mayor that his narrow re-election was “a call from average New Yorkers for relief.”

Note: Readers who want to check the analysis in the BTA should head to the Parking worksheet, a dozen tabs from the back.