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Parking - Catch All

'No Place To Park'


Entitled Drivers Have Been Whining for 100 Years!​


See link for the full article.

Like death and taxes, New Yorkers complain about parking. And the media has long been their enablers.

These days, the local press likes to trot out random car drivers complaining that they can’t find parking because ___________ (insert any city program that has attempted to minutely tip the scales from drivers to everyone else such as open restaurants, open streets, wider sidewalks for pedestrians or a nascent effort to put garbage bags in the curbside lane and trim New York’s notorious 5 o’clock shadow).

“Sometimes I wait for hours to find a spot,” Luis Carrero of Kingsbridge Heights recently told the Daily News, claiming, “Years ago, it was easy.”

No, Luis, it wasn’t. Sure, there are tens of thousands more cars in the city now than before the pandemic, with car ownership increasing 12 percent, according to the NY Post, and, yes a few thousand spots were repurposed during the pandemic for the public instead of for private car storage, but Luis and his ilk are just flat-out wrong: It was never easy to park in New York City. Complaints from car owners are as long standing a tradition in New York as booing the mayor on opening day at Yankee Stadium.
How do we know? We asked the ultimate expert.

“Parking has been difficult for decades,” author Calvin Trillin told Streetsblog the other day. And he ought to know; in 2001, Trillin published the seminal, “Tepper Isn’t Going Out,” an entire novel about parking that was born from the author’s own years searching for a spot in Greenwich Village.

The problem he said is decades old and began “as soon as there were so many cars that if you put them in the end they would measure more than the parking spots.”

Trillin said that drivers should put today’s parking problems in context. Finding a spot will always be difficult “unless people just don’t have that many cars.”

Nonetheless, the car-owning minority of New York feels that free parking is it inalienable right. A safety improvement that might save the life of a kid or a neighbor are still met with outrage from drivers — and the media plays along, hyping how hard it is to park. But some reporters get it.

“New York has been synonymous with endless traffic jams, total gridlock, impossible parking and hours-long spot-hunting for decades. And it is nothing short of bizarre revisionism to even imply otherwise,” Aaron Gordon recently wrote in VICE.

Revisionism is the perfect word for today’s laments. We did a deep dive into the parking issue and here are some highlights:
As early as 1917, car owners started asserting their entitlement to simply swipe the public curbside space. As detailed by the Brooklyn Eagle, the practice of storing a car in the public right of way was so bizarre that the police commissioner ordered a crackdown.

“Instructions were given that special attention should be paid to conditions in the vicinity of Borough Hall in Brooklyn,” the article said (wait, is this article from 2023?!).

The irony is that at the time, local merchants complained that car drivers who parked against the curb were deterring customers (the opposite complaint is made today).

At the time, street parking was a luxury allowed only to doctors who needed to rush to take care of a patient. So how come house calls disappeared, but theft of public space didn’t?
As the popularity of the automobile continued to rise, parking became more of a crisis … for entitled drivers demanding space.

As this 1921 article shows, all kinds of solutions were pitched, including an intricate car parking system underneath parks, with 30,000 spaces created under Central Park and another 4,000 under Bryant Park.

“Parked cars today cause congestion, loss of life and injuries,” Deputy Police Commissioner Harriss was quoted as saying before describing his elaborate system that seems right out of an Elon Musk fever dream: “When a passenger would leave his car to enter a store or a theater for a considerable space of time, the car should be immediately sent to Central or Bryant park, subject to recall by an electronic flashlight system probably requiring six telephone operators in each parking tunnel.”

Harriss claimed, “Practically all of the large department stores have been studying the suggestion and are enthusiastic about it.”

Brooklyn Borough President Riegelmann was on board with efforts to ameliorate the parking “problem,” saying that “the parked car was rapidly becoming one of the biggest of the city’s transportation problems,” the Eagle reported.

This was back in the days when parking one’s car overnight on a street was simply prohibited.

“In those days, people thought that the streets should not be used to store automobiles,” the legendary parking expert Donald Shoup of UCLA, told Streetsblog the other day. The shift, he said, “was that drivers kept insisting, ‘Here’s all this wonderful space that you prohibit us from using.’”
In the 1920s, truckers were the canaries in the coal mine of New York City parking, what with their work constantly impeded by cars. In 1923, the Merchant Truckmen’s Bureau of New York declared that the only way to really improve traffic issues was to ban car parking in busy areas of the city.

The police department provided limited off street parking, but people didn’t use them “because the car owners have to walk three or four blocks back from the place they parked the car, to their business.” Aww, baby.
As more and more soldiers returned home from World War II and vacant lots were converted to buildings, the city faced a flood of new traffic and fewer off-street parking spaces.

At the time, the auto lobby acknowledged that parked cars were the problem — but the car industry’s solution was hardly to deter driving and parking, but to encourage it!

George Conrad Diehl, of the Automobile Old Timers, demanded that the city cut “at least” four new crosstown boulevards for cars, with parking spaces installed underneath. He claimed “these broad arteries would more than pay for themselves … through the economic service they rendered.” He was wrong — roadways have been widened, but congestion still cripples the city and hampers economic development.
 
Hmmmm.........Grumble.

Reading the agenda for this week's Toronto Parking Authority meeting, they are proposing some modest rate hikes at a few of their facilities. I'm certainly not opposed to rate hikes; rather, I've repeatedly asked and Council members have asked that they be reset to market value. They still aren't.


From the above:

Let's have a look at the chart:

1677502996746.png


Here we see for the City Hall Garage (Top line) that the average 30M parking rate among competitor lots is $4.50, but TPA is charging $3.50 fully 22% less. The daily rate difference is just as stunning, at $28 for competitors and only $22 at City Hall, after the proposed increase! Also roughly 22% less than competitors.

This is literally a giveway; and one with enough money being left on the table to pay to restore all the TTC services being cut this year.
 
It does seem like a weird place to hold the line on fees. Permit parking I can understand from a political perspective, but Green P? I wonder if they’re getting pressure from BIAs, or worried about getting pressure from BIAs.
 

Some Toronto officials will lose their free-parking passes, but city councillors keep theirs​

From link. Dated Tue., Jan. 29, 2019

The TPA board voted to cancel parking passes for a handful of officials including Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg and Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health.

Some Toronto officials and former agency directors are losing unlimited free parking at Green P lots and on-street parking, but many more politicians, officials and retirees are being allowed to keep the controversial perk.

The board of directors of the Toronto Parking Authority voted Tuesday to cancel parking passes for a handful of officials including Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg and Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health.

Also stripped of the unlimited free parking will be ex-TPA board members who left after the start of 2014, including Peter Leon, appointed as city councillor for 11 months to replace Etobicoke representative Doug Holyday, and Darius Mosun, chief executive of an architecture firm.

Future TPA directors will not keep the freebie after leaving the board, nor will 20-year-plus TPA staff who leave the city agency but do not officially retire from it.

Mayor John Tory was among those who criticized a list of more than 160 people who were slated to get routine renewal of passes, in addition to TPA staff and contractors hired to do work in the lots.

Tory questioned the agency’s reasons for giving the freebie to so many people and asked for a review of who should continue getting it.

“I think it aggravates the citizens who we represent, when they see these people on what look like fairly flimsy reasons (getting) free parking and everyone else doesn’t,” he told reporters in December.

The mayor, who is often chauffeured and does not get a parking pass, questioned why city councillors need free parking. Two of the 25 city councillors — Michael Ford and Gord Perks — currently refuse the passes.

The reforms approved Tuesday by the TPA board, in line with the recommendations of Rob Oliphant, the agency’s acting president, cancel only about 10 current passes, costing the city about $6,778 a year, while preventing more passes from being issued in the future.

Oliphant said in a report councillors should continue getting free parking and the board concurred.

City councillors got a total of $15,822 worth of free parking last year “primarily for work,” TPA staff said, and should keep the passes because removing them would just force councillors to charge the parking costs to their office expenses, and not save the city any money.

“A very limited number of passes are issued to other (city agency) and City of Toronto staff, for business travel purposes,” that would also likely be expensed, staff said. The board voted to have councillors’ use of the pass detailed in their office expenses made public.

Also keeping the passes are TPA retirees with 20-plus years service, to “honour and reward their longtime commitment” to the agency, a practice “not inconsistent with other transit organizations.”

The board — currently three city staff, soon to be replaced by a mix of city councillors and public appointees — also approved rate increases of 50 cents per half-hour at eight Green P lots.

The hikes are aimed at generating a total of $3 million in annual revenue from the following lots: 21 Pleasant Blvd.; 30 Alvin Ave.; 37 Queen Street E.; Nathan Phillips Square; 20 Castlefield Ave.; 30 Roehampton Ave.; 40 York St.; and 20 St. Andrew St.

The parking authority’s mandate is to give Torontonians “high turnover, low cost, short term parking, especially in commercial areas.” To help achieve that TPA tries to set rates no higher than 75 per cent of the average price charged by nearby private parking lots.

Is there any update after this article?
 
The City of Toronto's relationship to the Toronto Parking Authority was up for discussion at Executive Ctte this week.


Of note, was an amendment tacked on by would-be Mayoral candidate Bradford:

1679582696186.png


@HousingNowTO will wish to make note.
 
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On the TPA agenda for next week is a tender for 'restoration' of the Kensington Market Parking Garage.

Its for 7.5M, this is the second contract for this facility in as many years with the staircases having been replaced last year.


The report notes this as one of TPA's 15 most productive sites (note they did not say profitable) and indeed they cited its annual revenue rather than profit, something that struck me as odd.

Forecast revenue for the facility is 1.65M this year.

So, excluding operating costs, the contracts this year and last will probably be equal to 5 years of revenue (how many in profit?).....

I'm inclined to see this as a missed opportunity. Kensington Market would benefit from better retail, housing, and quality public space on this site.

Parking could be retained underground, though I would certainly prefer to see the amount cut down, a good deal of which would work for the City, which has a de facto monopoly on parking in the area and could be offset
by increased prices for a smaller facility.

At the very least, it would have been nice to have that discussion before this money was spent.
 
In illustration of my irritation at the above, also before the TPA next week is a report on the new Relationship Framework between the TPA and the City of Toronto which was approved at Council last month.

Said framework was amended as it made its way through the approval process......

And the final approval came back with something we can all get behind here, and @HousingNowTO will take special interest in....

1681480340503.png


The report to the TPA meeting is here: https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2023/pa/bgrd/backgroundfile-235623.pdf


Great recommendation, pity the decision I noted in the post above to blow money on maintaining this site as-is.......prior to evaluating its potential for redevelopment.
 
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On the agenda of the next meeting of the Infrastructure and Environment Ctte is a report in which the Toronto Parking Authority (Green P) is seeking permission to remove Pay and Display machines from 13 areas of paid parking,
in favour of 'must pay by mobile/cell'.

While the vast majority of drivers will have cell phones, one might imagine that between those who do not, forgot theirs, can't get signal/no power, or simply don't have the requisite app, this may get some resistance.

That said, 75% of all Green P payments are now made through their App, not the traditional pay and display system.

I imagine the pilot will go through, but we shall see.

Report here: https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2023/ie/bgrd/backgroundfile-239094.pdf
 
On the agenda of the next meeting of the Infrastructure and Environment Ctte is a report in which the Toronto Parking Authority (Green P) is seeking permission to remove Pay and Display machines from 13 areas of paid parking,
in favour of 'must pay by mobile/cell'.

While the vast majority of drivers will have cell phones, one might imagine that between those who do not, forgot theirs, can't get signal/no power, or simply don't have the requisite app, this may get some resistance.

That said, 75% of all Green P payments are now made through their App, not the traditional pay and display system.

I imagine the pilot will go through, but we shall see.

Report here: https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2023/ie/bgrd/backgroundfile-239094.pdf
25% seems way to high to remove pay and display machines. If they want to save on operational costs, it might make sense to increase the distance between machines where there is 90%+ app usage. Some streets have a high density of machines and if 1/3 of the machines were removed there it could make sense.
 
25% seems way to high to remove pay and display machines. If they want to save on operational costs, it might make sense to increase the distance between machines where there is 90%+ app usage. Some streets have a high density of machines and if 1/3 of the machines were removed there it could make sense.

Their primary focus seems to be removing machines where there are only small numbers of spots involved (5 or less).

They have projections, presumably based on past uptake growth than the App will represent a substantially larger share of payments by the end of 2025. (85%)
 
As at Dec 1, 2023 the fine for not paying for your parking in off street facilities will rise from $30 to $75, subject to the report to next week's General Gov't ctte passing through Council.


The report notes, that its currently 33% cheaper to pay the fine than the market rate for parking for special events at the CNE.
 
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As at Dec 1, 2023 the fine for not paying for your parking in off street facilities will rise from $30 to $75, subject to the report to next week's General Gov't ctte passing through Council.


The report notes, that its currently 33% cheaper to pay the fine than the market rate for parking for special events at the CNE@
Not sure that's the tweet you're meaning to embed 😆
 

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