» Driving & Traffic News

March 6, 2015

NYC_TaxiAccording 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),
Filed under: Driving & Traffic News,Getting Around NYC,Taxis — Tags: , — mtohn @ 1:07 pm
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February 12, 2015

Image,_Move_NY_Plan,_TollsCongestion 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…

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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.

Filed under: Buses,Driving & Traffic News,Parking News,Subways — Tags: , — mtohn @ 11:01 am
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July 8, 2014

NYC Alternate Side Parking ASPOn Monday, June 7, 2014, the NYC City Council held a hearing on a bill that would allow drivers in NYC to return to parking spaces once the street sweepers pass through for NYC street cleaning. For locals, the street cleaning is referred to as Alternate Side Parking (ASP) regulations. For anywhere from 2 to 3 hours a day, you are not allowed to have your vehicle on a particular street so the NYC Department of Sanitation can ‘sweep’ the streets. Most ASP signs are clearly marked with the ‘P’ symbol with a broom through it.

We’ve covered this proposal before, and here’s a recap.

Benefits

  1. Potentially significant reduction in wait times for NYC drivers who have to wait 2 – 4 hours in their vehicles during the mandated Alternate Side Parking regulation time.
  2. Much less double-parking by these vehicles, so traffic will be reduced as well

Objections & Concerns Read more…

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July 2, 2014

NerdWallet, a financial website, has offered another analysis of the costs of owning a vehicle in major cities.

In order, the most expensive cities are:

  1. New York City
  2. Detroit — highest average insurance premium of $4,924.99
  3. San Francisco
  4. Chicago
  5. Washington, D.C. — highest annual hours of delay per commuter of 67 hours
  6. Seattle, Washington
  7. Boston, MA
  8. Miami, FL — lowest average gas price at $3.66/gallon
  9. Honolulu, Hawaii — highest average gas price at $4.35/gallon
  10. Oakland, CA

Some of the less expensive cities were:

12. Los Angeles — lowest average number of days with precipitation per year with 32 days
14. Cleveland, OH — highest average number of days with precipitation per year with 150 days, lowest annual hours of delay per commuter with 31 hours, lowest average insurance premium of 4796.54 Read more…

Filed under: Driving & Traffic News — Tags: , — mtohn @ 4:48 pm
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April 8, 2014

NYC Alternate Side Parking ASPI both applaud and do not understand people who use NYC street parking and move their cars 2 – 3 times a week to comply with the NYC Alternate Side Parking Regulations (ASP). These are the regulations that force car owners to move their cars for 1 – 3 hours so the street is clear for the street sweeping trucks. It’s a heroic and long honored ritual for many NYC car owners.

But this daunting activity may get easier. According to the NY Daily News, NYC Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan), is proposing legislation that would let NYC drivers legally take parking spots once the street sweeper passed by — ending the need for drivers to wait inside their cars until the no-parking time period lapses.

Rodriguez first introduced the bill in 2010, and got a majority of the Council to join as co-sponsors, including Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan). The bill stalled, which might have been because: Read more…

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February 22, 2014

Image,_NYC_TrafficNew NYC Mayor Bill DiBlasio has announced significant changes to improve NYC traffic. DiBlasio’s primary objective is to reduce the number of NYC traffic fatalities to zero. He plans to accomplish that by:

  • Instituting a police crackdown on NYC speeding motorists,
  • redesigning 50 dangerous intersections and streets each year,
  • increasing NYC police enforcement against dangerous moving violations, including speeding, failing to yield to pedestrians, signal violations, improper turns/disobeying signage, and phoning/texting while driving,
  • getting Albany’s permission to decrease the citywide speed limit to 25 mph from 30 mph,
  • increasing the number of red-light cameras beyond the current 120 locations,
  • implementing eight new neighborhood slow zones,
  • installing speed
  • cameras at 20 new authorized locations,
  • installing 250 speed bumps, including in neighborhood slow zones,
  • enhancing street lighting at 1,000 intersections,
  • creating 25 new “neighborhood slow-zones” to help minimize speeding,
  • imposing stiffer penalties on NYC taxi drivers who drive dangerously, and
  • maintaining an interagency task force to oversee the implementation of Vision Zero.

Image,_Vision_Zero_logoVision Zero is Mayor DiBlasio’s plan to reduce the number of NYC traffic fatalities to zero. Read more…

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October 21, 2013

Image,_NYC_website,_new_design_October_2013NYC has just launched a new website, http://www1.nyc.gov/, and at first glance, we think the navigation and design is much better. Really clear and clean layout and links, the homepage gives the status of NYC Alternate Side Parking regulations, the font is easy to read,and of course we checked out the sections for NYC Parking, NYC Traffic Violations, and what you might want to know and NYC garages and getting around.

Image,_NYC_website,_new_design,_Alternate_Side_Parking_icon

Alternate Side Parking — the left hand side of the homepage will let you know if the regulation is in effect today.

 

 

 

 

 

Public Parking Lot — unfortunately, the website tells you to ‘Call 311’ to find a Public NYC Parking Lot. Not much help.  Read more…

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NYC could have Green Parking Zones for electric vehicles

NYC could have Green Parking Zones for electric vehicles

Whilst electric vehicles are still slow to catch on in the US because of the sticker price and charging station access, new technology is solving the problem of finding a charging station when you need it.

Computer World has just reported that in early 2014, NYC will test on-street electric vehicle charging stations in the  Washington Square Park area. Hevo Power, a NYC-based start-up company, began working side-by-side with engineers at NYU Poly in December 2012 to develop, prepare and commercialize their wireless charging technology at their Metro Tech Center location in Brooklyn for use in NYC.

Hevo Power is proposing Green Parking and Green Loading Zones for NYC. These zones will have manhole-style covers equipped with wireless receivers, so you park your electric vehicle over the manhole cover and charge away. Hevo’s business targets commercial vehicle fleets (think UPS, FedEx, Fresh Direct, delivery trucks) rather than individual car-owners.

  • Zones will be in premium parking locations
  • Commercial fleets will be provided a ‘safe haven from onerous ticketing charges while reducing traffic congestion’ (source: Hevo)
  • Payment for electric vehicle charging will be made through wireless bill pay, so you won’t get free NYC street parking and free electric vehicle charging Read more…
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July 3, 2013

On June 22nd, 2013, New York State lawmakers voted to allow New York City to install cameras to catch speeding motorists near schools. The bill approves a five-year pilot program that would allow the operation of 20 speed-camera systems in school speed zones.  Drivers who are caught speeding by the cameras would face a $50 NYC speeding ticket fine.

Mayor Bloomberg supported the bill, predicting that the speed cameras will help reduce injuries and deaths caused by cars speeding in school zones.

These new cameras will be added to the cameras that catch NYC motorists going through red lights and driving in bus lanes.

Opponents of the bill claim that these cameras serve only to generate revenue from NYC speeding tickets. One group, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, also believe that funds would be better directed hiring more police offers who can enforce the NYC speed limits and also be alert to other criminal activity.

In its coverage of the vote, The New York Times pointed out that speed cameras in NYC school zones has been an ongoing battle between NYC and New York State for years, primarily because this is a local issue that requires state approval. The fight over the speed cameras — similar proposals had stalled in Albany for years — was yet another example of how what are considered local issues often require state approval, to the frustration of city officials. New York City’s public advocate, Bill de Blasio, said on Saturday that the city should be given the authority to install speed or red-light cameras “without the need for an all-out legislative campaign in Albany.”

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