By now you’ve probably heard about the big rally to defend the Prospect Park West bike lane  tomorrow morning. Everyone who can attend should make every effort to get to Grand Army Plaza at 8:00 a.m. and show how deep the support for the PPW re-design runs.
There’s another event happening tomorrow that has big implications for sustainability and safer streets. It concerns what’s probably the most effective traffic reduction technique in NYC DOT’s toolkit.
Tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., DOT will present the next steps for its Park Smart pilot in Park Slope to the transportation committee of Brooklyn Community Board 6. If you live in or near Park Slope, you can go to the rally in morning, head over to work, apologize to the boss for being a little late, put in a day at the office, then head back to the neighborhood for more livable streets action.
Park Smart is intended to cut traffic and curb double-parking. By aligning parking meter rates with parking demand, it promises to free up enough spots to reduce cruising for spaces and take away the temptation for motorists to stop in the traffic lane or the bike lane for a few minutes.
So far the results in Park Slope have been promising: the pilot program has reduced traffic and increased parking turnover . That means more customers for local businesses and less congestion on the streets.
A number of proposals are expected to be up for discussion tomorrow: making the pilot permanent, expanding the Park Smart zone throughout the Park Slope commercial district on Fifth Avenue and Seventh Avenue, extending the hours peak meter rates are in effect, and raising peak meter rates to $2.25 per hour.
With 40 percent of motorists telling DOT in a recent survey that they’re still frustrated with finding a place to park in Park Slope, raising the rate makes sense from a sustainability perspective and a retail business perspective. Still, it’s expected to be a contentious proposition.
If Park Smart takes root in Park Slope with optimal peak hour rates, the implications could be citywide. This is the only performance parking pilot outside Manhattan right now, but commercial streets all over the five boroughs could use the congestion-busting effects of Park Smart. Come out tomorrow night at 6:30 and speak up for a program that shows how NYC streets and NYC businesses benefit from putting the right price on parking.
New York Methodist Hospital
506 6th Street, Auditorium
(between 7th/8th Avenues)
Brooklyn NY 11215