It’s official: New Haven will test out “congestion” pricing at its parking meters.
The Traffic Authority voted Tuesday night to authorize the city to roll out a pilot for the concept, which also goes by the terms “dynamic parking” or “performance-based parking.” It means that the city raises or lowers the price at different meters based on how much they’re being used, with the goals of maximizing parking and keeping spots open.
The plan to explore what has variously been called dynamic parking or performance-based parking, or congestion parking, has been nicknamed “A Quarter For A Quarter,” by Traffic, Transportation & Parking Director Doug Hausladen. whose working group has developed the details over the past year.
City transit chief Doug Hausladen said the pilot will begin in January, when all new signs are up, and continue for three years.
Under the plan, whose details and sample rates you can read here, it might end up costing you 75 cents an hour to park near the Green in the morning, but then $2.50 in the afternoon when demand is great, for instance. If you don’t mind parking on Prospect Street, you could pay only 50 cents in the morning, 75 cents at night.
And it might bring the city up to $122,000 in new meter-generated revenue a year, while cutting down on pollution and drawing more visitors to town, Hausladen estimated.
The city will tweak the prices — 25 cents at a time, every three months — at each meter based on how often people have been parking there. The goal is to free up a couple spaces in high-demand spots downtown, get more people parking overall, and fill in spaces on the periphery of the city’s central core.
“Parking For Democracy” Also Moves Apace
Another pilot program designed to result in greater citizen participation in our municipal democracy offers free validated parking for those attending aldermanic, commission, and other formal city meetings.
Hausladen offered a nine-month update at Tuesday night’s Traffic Authority meeting, which was held at 1 Union Ave.
The program, which was introduced at the prompting of Dixwell Alder Jeannette Morrison to encourage citizen participation in lawmaking, works like this: If you’re participating in a public meeting at City Hall or the Hall of Records at 200 Orange St., you park at the Elm and Orange lot, then take the dispensed ticket with you to City Hall or to 200 Orange.
On your way in, or at the end of your meeting, you present the ticket to the guard at the security desk. He or she takes down your name, address, and meeting attended. Then you get a little bar-coded sticker. You place that sticker on the dispensed ticket you received at the lot. When you drive out, insert the stickerized ticket in the Elm and Orange lot’s machine, and you leave without having to pay.
Morrison, in pitching the pilot, reported that many people stayed away from meetings for want of parking or in anxiety about receiving a ticket. The pilot is designed to remove such obstacles.
Hausladen reported that more than 200 parking sessions have been validated in total since the program started.
Morrison, who was present at the commission meeting, praised the work of Hausladen and City Engineer Giovanni Zinn, who has just received aldermanic approval to place permanent sandwich boards on the sidewalks by City Hall and the Hall of Records informing people of the program.
Morrison said the signage, which has been rolled out in stages, is the only hitch she sees.
The Orange and Elm lot continues to have plenty of capacity, so the hope is that as the word gets out more and the signage more evident, more citizens will participate.
“As small as this may seem, this is huge because we’re making laws,” Morrison said in remarks thanking the commissioners and staff for their work.
Commission Chair Anthony Dawson urged Hausladen to take the program information out to all the community management teams. Hausladen pronounced that a “great idea” that he will follow.