Reporters – they just don’t know enough to ask a question. – On Street Variable Pricing


Reporters – they just don’t know enough to ask a question. – On Street Variable Pricing


From this story in the LA Times


Traffic engineers across the country are turning to an unlikely weapon in their fight against congestion on city streets — parking meters.

And drivers will feel the pain in their pocketbooks.

To reduce traffic caused by drivers circling the block to find parking, cities are testing new technology to direct people to open spots and experimenting with a concept known as congestion pricing.

The strategy calls for hiking meter rates during peak hours when parking is scarce and lowering the cost when spaces are plentiful.

Transportation officials believe the higher prices will discourage drivers from staying put for too long.

That, in turn, could increase the turnover of spaces and reduce carbon emissions caused by cars on the prowl for curbside spots.

They suggest the extra money from the meters could be used to improve mass transit.


It drones on and one for two pages, but you get the point. The problem is that the reporter didn’t know the questions to ask, or made up answers that were not correct.


True, fancy meters will enable the cities to alter pricing more on a free market model, but the result isn’t necessarily turn over, its enticing people to make parking decisions based on their pocket book.


If there are cheap spaces off street, and expensive spaces on street, most people will immediately to go the cheap spaces, thus getting them out of the cruising mode. Congestion is reduced because people park quickly. Turnover is caused by setting limits, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have less cruising. Its quick parking choices that eliminate cruising.


So the reporter neglected to ask whether or not the pricing on street was going to move parkers off street and if there was parking off street to handle the change. In addition, the money from the meters to improve mass transit is, from my point of view, a non starter.


The money should be used in the neighborhood for infrastructure to help make each local area a better street scene. Better for merchants, better for visitors, better for residents. Mass transit should pay for itself. Yeah, right.



John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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