June 30, 2015
The New York Post reported that foreign diplomats owe more than $16 billion in unpaid NYC parking tickets! Here are the facts:
- Diplomats have 529 NYC street parking spots — all legal! Each UN mission has two designated NYC parking spaces and 1-2 parking spots for each consulate.
- NYC has issued has issued 219,902 parking violations to diplomatic vehicles including 18,008 alone to Egypt which owes $1.97 million, the most of any country!
- Most of the $16 million in parking debt was accumulated before a 2002 agreement between the city and the US State Department that was supposed to curb abuses!
- Senegal, Ivory Coast, Indonesia and Italy each owes approximately $24,000 for tickets received since 2002!
- In total, the city issued 42,449 NYC parking tickets since 2002, and $758,968 in fines remain outstanding!
The NYC Department of Transportation, which puts up the parking signs for diplomat parking, would not disclose their locations.
As of July 1, 2015, you’ll be able to pre-pay your NYC Muni Meter up to one hour before the meter regulations go into effect.
Why? This change, sponsored by NYC Councilman David G. Greenfield, specifically benefits NYC drivers who need NYC street parking before the Muni Meter becomes active, but won’t be able to feed the meter when it does become active. For example, you have an 8:30am doctor appointment and you need to arrive at 8:15am, but the Muni Meter doesn’t become active until 8:30am. Currently, you’d have to run out just as your appointment is starting. Under this new legislation, you can pre-pay the NYC Muni Meter at 8:15am — to begin the parking period at 8:30am. Greenfield sponsored this bill to help NYC drivers avoid that dreaded NYC parking ticket.
Sounds simple, right? But because of the complexities involved, Greenfield’s law gave the City two years from July 1, 2013 to change the muni-meter machines to accept pre-payment. The city has already re-programmed many muni-meters including ones in Greenfield’s Boro Park neighborhood. All of the city’s muni-meters will be reprogrammed by this July 1st.
March 6, 2015
According to Crain’s New York Business, Uber, the app-based taxi hailing service, believes that NYC taxis should be more like Uber. That’s according to Michael Allegretti, Uber’s New York director of public policy. Allegretti made his statements at a NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) hearing that was intended to focus on a licensing system proposed for app-based companies like Uber. But Mr. Allegretti flipped the script, instead suggesting the agency take the standards Uber has promulgated over the last four years and make them apply to the rest of the for-hire vehicle industry.
Allegretti claims that if NYC taxis follow the Uber model:
- Drivers for NYC taxis, livery cabs, limos, and black cars will be paid $30/hour, vs the current average of $15/hour,
- Customers will get the driver’s license, ID, and contact infomation,
- Customers will know the full price of their trip before it starts, and
- Handicapped-accessible taxis will have to pick up customers within 10 minutes.
Many taxi drivers and representatives of the industry disagree and reject Uber’s claims, stating:
- The value of NYC taxi medallions has dropped considerably with the introduction of app-based hailing systems,
- Taxis should not arbitrarily raise or lower the fare based on demand or weather (as Uber has been criticized of doing),
February 12, 2015
In NYC, you cannot park within 15 feet of a NYC fire hydrant or between a bus stop sign and the next parking sign. The curb may or not be painted, and after circling the block a few times you just want to park your car rather than get out and measure that 15 feet.
This week, City Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Brooklyn) proposed legislation that would require the curb to be painted red to mark the required 15 feet from fire hydrants and bus stops.
We like the idea. If you park legally and still get a ticket, you just take a photo of your vehicle legally parked, and you can successfully fight that NYC parking ticket, which goes for $115.
The main issue against the bill seems to be the cost of doing all that painting. Stay tuned.
Congestion Pricing for anyone driving in NYC is back on the table. With the removal of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the MTA’s $15 billion capital-plan deficit, Sam Schwartz’s Move NY plan could fix both congestion and the deficit.
Move NY Plan’s premise is to increase costs of driving into Manhattan where there are good public transport options, and reduce the costs where there are limited public transportation options. As a result, the flow of traffic gets spread around the various NYC bridge and tunnel crossings.
HIGHLIGHTS OF MOVE NY PLAN
- East River bridges — implement tolls of $5.54 for E-ZPass users, $8 for others on the Queensborough/Koch Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge.
- Crossing below 60th Street in Manhattan — implement toll of $5.54 for E-ZPass users, $8 for others.
- Outer Borough Bridges — reduce tolls from $5 to $2.50
- Off Peak Hours — lower toll rates
- NYC Taxis and app-based services — implement a surcharge based on a distance entered below 96th St in Manhattan.
BENEFITS OF MOVE NY PLAN Read more…
Is free parking really not free at all? If you believe the theory of Geof Glass, a Ph.D. student at Simon Frasier University, we’re all indirectly paying for free parking when we shop at nearby stores.
Glass’ hypothesis is that the cost of free parking is built into the retail store or restaurant’s overhead, and is then passed on to the consumer as part of the cost of items sold. Glass refers to this as an ‘invisible sales tax’ of about 1%.
According to The Washington Post, Glass estimates that rents account for 10% of a retailer’s overall cost, and parking accounts for about 10% of rent, giving a cost of 1% for parking. That retailer then passes that 1% on to consumers.
Glass believes that since governments require developer to building parking, it’s the same effect as if consumers paid a tax and then the government built the parking.
The Post’s article points out that ‘This is a very simple calculation, and it doesn’t take into account for example the fact that rents are also determined by many factors beyond the cost of constructing a building (like the sudden popularity of its location). It also doesn’t consider that retailers set prices with many other factors in mind beyond fixed costs (like the desire by, say, CVS, to standardize prices across locations).’
The main takeaway from the article is that if you don’t drive, you’re essentially subsidizing drivers, since you’re paying that extra 1% to retailers and not getting the benefit of that 1%. It’s analogous to people who don’t use NYC subways or buses subsidizing those who do use public transportation through the portion of the Highway Trust Fund that covers mass transit. And it’s the same for single people or families who send their children to private school still paying school taxes.
Tired of walking to your car, getting it out of the NYC garage or parking spot on the street, having to find parking when you arrive at your destination, and probably overpaying? A new app, Valet Anywhere, promises to save you all the NYC parking hassles for $249 to $325 a month.
How it Works
- Sign up and pay your monthly fee
- Use the app to have your car delivered
- Use the app to have your car picked up and parked safely
- $6/hr for a one-off pick up and return. Maximum day rate is $42.
- $249 for low-frequency drivers, ie. 1 – 2 times a month
- $325 for higher-frequency drivers, ie. maximum of 10 uses
- $229 for 10 drop-offs in downtown Brooklyn, Park Slope, Williamsburg
The Ins & Outs Read more…
January 28, 2015
On January 1, 2015 a 30-cent Improvement Surcharge went into effect for all NYC taxi rides.
January 22, 2015
Uber’s taxi hailing app has certainly made a small dent in the world of using a NYC taxi, though not without a series of legal battles and some really bad PR highlighting Uber’s surge pricing on New Year’s Eve and other holidays.
In December 2014, NYC’s City Council decided that it’s time for NYC to have its own app, rather than let Uber, Lyft, and Hailo have all the fun, and business. Councilman Benjamin Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, proposed the app.
Chicago is also considering its own app for e-hailing taxis, as reported by The New York Times.
Stay tuned, and we’ll see how this might affect congestion that comes with NYC driving.
January 20, 2015
New Yorkers spend a lot of time complaining about traffic, and how too many cars on the road (and double parked delivery trucks) contribute to the insane level of congestion. Is it really that there are too many cars, though? We found an interesting article wtih another perspective — let’s compare the actual space taken up by cars, buses, bicycles, and real people.
City Metric’s article starts with an image from a protest in Latvia where cyclists used neon pieces of wood to create the frame of a regular vehicle, and attached it to their bikes. The result? Each bicycle now took up the space of a car. A good visual impact.
The point of the moving protest was to highlight that whilst experts usually point to pollution, congestion, and deaths caused by cars — we should also focus on the sheer size of vehicles and the space they take on our roads. Most cars carry 1 – 3 people, whereas the same space could be used for 6 bicyclists or one row in a public bus.
Now check out this fascinating photo study from Cycling Promotion Fund. This group shows the space taken up by 69 people — walking, in bicycles, in a public bus, and in vehicles.
Just something to think about.