Friday, November 28, 2008

Civic Center Residents Coalition Finds Issues with DOT Placard Study

Civic Center Residents Coalition Opposes Mayor Bloomberg’s Congestion Pricing Plan

Recently Released DOT Placard Parking Survey Backs Lower Manhattan Residents’ Claims that Bloomberg’s Congestion Pricing Plan Will Not Work
The Civic Center Residents Coalition, an alliance of Lower Manhattan residential complexes and small business owners formed after 9/11, has long been calling attention to the impact of illegal placard parking on the safety and well being of Downtown residents and businesses for years.
The long awaited N.Y.D.O.T. study, entitled “Placard Parking Usage in Lower Manhattan, issue 3″ provides the best documentation of the magnitude of the problem. This 400+ page document released just two weeks before the Congestion Pricing vote is still not posted on the DOT’s website. The study also provides strong evidence that Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed Congestion Pricing Plan will not provide significant reduction of vehicular traffic in Lower Manhattan.Some important findings from the study, which is absent from the DOT’s website but referenced in various periodicals and websites, include:
* 142,000 government issued placards (as opposed to the 70,000 placards the Administration admitted to just two months ago)* Law enforcement and agency parking take nearly ½ of the peak curbside parking capacity of Lower Manhattan.* Nearly 1 out of 8 placarded vehicles are parked illegally (e.g. at fire hydrants, bus stops, crosswalks, etc).* Nearly 1/10th of all vehicles found with law enforcement and agency placards had illegal placards.* The 570K parking study found that the financial district had 25% more fake placard parkers than the rest of the downtown area (12% fake placards in financial district, as opposed to 9% in the rest of the downtown area below Canal Street).
Outside of the scope of the study was any estimation of how much of placard use was actually on city business. But the study did find that law enforcement and agency parking exceeded their allocation by almost 50%.
Also outside of the scope of the study was any estimation of how many placards are being used for the purposes of facilitating commuting into Lower Manhattan. But the idea that there are at least 160,000 placarded cars driving in and around Lower Manhattan on any given day says that the Mayor’s congestion pricing scheme will not work Downtown.
Why have our three community boards’ requests for “No Permit Parking” signs, a viable alternative to congestion pricing in Lower Manhattan, been ignored? More importantly, we need stringent enforcement of existing parking permit regulations instead of taxes. If we must have a tax, make that a restoration of the commuter one. This plus the elimination of government permit parking abuse would truly be a significant legacy from Mayor Bloomberg. Residents of Lower Manhattan find the claim that government workers and NYPD will not be exempt from congestion pricing BOGUS, since the City’s history of laissez faire towards placard abuse by its own workforce has, for two decades, gone largely unenforced.
We find that the Mayor’s “one size fits all” plan will further damage Lower Manhattan while providing none of the air quality and safety relief that he is hoping will convince legislators to adopt this new form of tax.

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