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The Money Comes From Only One Place…

I was reading Astrid’s piece over on Parknews.biz on parking tax in Hartford, CT, and could only shake my head. The local council wants to increase the tax on parking facilities from $1000 to as much as $29,000. From where do they think the money is coming?

Parking operators and owners are struggling to stay in business. The absolute last thing they need right now is another layer of taxation. Laz Parking’s Alan Lazowski is right. He said he expects the higher fees would boost parking rates in a city where parking already is perceived as expensive. He’s also troubled about the potential effect on apartment renters downtown that have been growing in number in recent years.

The money for the increased fees comes from only one place, from the parker. The last thing a community needs right now is higher parking fees. Every single business is struggling, its hard to imagine the council wanting to make that struggle more difficult.

Ah, but never let a crisis go to waste. Astrid got a response from Tony Jordan at the Parking Reform Network. Tony’s group is against cars, in any form. The best way according to them, is to restrict where they can park. Quoting Tony: “. . . parking stall fees are good policy because they would contribute simultaneously to several important policy objectives. Parking stall fees, particularly surface stalls, will encourage better uses of urban space, which I think is a big consideration in Hartford. Per stall fees internalize more of the costs of someone’s decision to drive and raise revenue that can and should be used to encourage and subsidize other modes. The environmental and traffic benefits from mode shift are obvious.”

I have had the pleasure of debating Tony in open forum and find him articulate, thoughtful, and wrong. Forcing people out of cars and into public transportation, bicycles, and scooters, simply won’t work. Particularly at a time when fear is driving them into purchasing private vehicles.

Now is the time for the parking industry to step up and make the parking experience easy and seamless for the driver. We need to provide convenient places for them to park and provide last mile transportation (shuttle, micro, bike) to make their journey easy and complete.

This is the polar opposite of what the Hartford City Council or Tony’s group is trying to accomplish. The want to remove your freedom of choice. It’s high time that these supporters of “environmental and traffic benefits” set about convincing folks of the righteousness of their cause rather than force their will on us.

JVH

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