Monday, October 22, 2007

New York Times Editorial: Yes to Residential Parking Permits, Taxi Stands; No to Parking Permits for City Employees

Worth reprinting in its entirety, from the New York Times (emphasis added). First on my list wold be eliminating placards for City employees.

October 22, 2007
Mr. Mayor, for Your Consideration
There’s a little dance that visitors and even many longtime New Yorkers do on emerging from the subway. A step forward, two back, one to the side, a glance up the street, then down — until, with any luck, bearings are found. So imagine the simple genius of the city’s latest innovation, directional decals on the sidewalks outside subway exits.
We applaud Mayor Michael Bloomberg for acting on the idea, which was offered by a Times reader last year. Mr. Bloomberg has shown that he’s not afraid to try what works, something he demonstrated again recently with his bold congestion pricing proposal, which would charge a weekday toll to most drivers on Manhattan’s busiest streets. While that complex issue is being hammered out by an appointed commission, we’d like the mayor to consider a few other easy, common-sense changes to bring order to the streets of the Apple:
Taxi stands. Anyone who has tried to get a taxi in New York in the rain, particularly at rush hour, knows that the system is broken. Hailers maneuver along the street, and to alternate corners, to get an edge over other taxi-seekers who have been waiting longer. Taxis waste gasoline, and needlessly spew out fumes, as they cruise for fares. Taxi stands, which work just fine in Paris, could be strategically placed around New York. People and cabs would line up. It would be civilized.
Residential parking permits, for a fee. Relatively few New Yorkers take on the expense and hassles of owning a car in the city — which is good, since it encourages the use of public transit. But there are still plenty of drivers, including many from out of town, who take advantage of the city’s generosity and park on the streets free. The city could get more cars off the street and raise badly needed money for mass-transit improvements if it set aside spots for residents for an annual fee. The mayor has not ruled out residential permits as part of a congestion pricing plan. But as cities from Berkeley, Calif., to Chicago and Baltimore have demonstrated, the idea works on its own.
Take away parking permits from city employees. Those vehicles that cavalierly park in front of hydrants or bus stops all too often do so with the impunity that comes with a privileged card placed on the dashboard. Virtually every city agency issues these permits, and there is no reliable count of how many are floating around. But they number in the thousands, including a lot of counterfeits. It’s time to end the free parking. This is New York, not Monopoly.

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