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It's not the car that it taxed, but instead the land that the car occupies when not in use. Doesn't this really make it a new type of tax on land use? To look at a Real Estate tax and call it a commuter tax is reaching beyond logic - reaching really for an emotional argument that real estate used for parking cars should remain under-priced, in comparison to other land uses. With many experts now projecting $200 oil barrels in under 10 years, the days of cheap driving will be over soon anyway, so not much point fighting this one on those grounds. I would like to see the money go into non-driving transport infrastructure - that would be a no-brainer.

While I agree with the measure and fee, I also have to agree with some of the detractors. Will it increase the number of bike commuters? I doubt it. While it may seem like a shot at a commuter tax, it will affect only a small percentage of workers.

Doubts as to where the revenue will go aside, Graham's track record of encouraging biking and discouraging driving is suspect. The lack of adequate bike parking, and properly striped bike lanes at his glorious DCUSA shopping center being a prime example. Not too mention the number of times I've seen his car parked in front of the Wilson building (in his free spot) on fair-weathered days. If he was really interested in improving the city air quality he'd bike or take transit to the office himself.

umm, charging more for parking is a great congestion charge, but I don't think it will work well in DC.

In the CBD, private parking in a garage is already over $200 a month. Lot parking is not used a lot in the CPD (except for Hill staffers). $25 is not going to change much for those people.

This will really hurt people who don't work in the CBD in DC. let's say I work at 7-11 on MacArthur Blvd in NW. There is little public transport, and parking is otherwise free (or low cost). Why should I pay $25 for parking?

So, where the money goes is a a red herring. You want to elimate CDB congestion? Charge $20 a day for street parking. Bike and walking (and transit) usage would shoot up.

You'd also drive up the cost of living (your lunch would be $20 instead of $10 because of labor costs) and more jobs would move to the suburbs (where you really don't have the bike/walk/transit) option.

charging more for parking: great for chicago and NYC. Probably not so great for DC.

The law isn't limited to just lots, but is meant to impact people who park for free in garages or lots. You make a good point about charging one rate citywide - a market rate for the block should be charged so that it not be too high or too low. I don't think cost of living would double or that many - if any - jobs would move to the suburbs (if you kept the fee in balance with the market). I'll agree that street parking should be more pricey too. I fail to see how DC is different from NY or Chicago in this respect.

1. Adding $25 month (roughly $1/day) isn't sufficient to modify commuting habits. People whine about gas inching toward $4/gallon, but they still sit in parking lots idling for no clear reason.

2. Biking isnt a safe or practical option for many; public transit is all too often unsafe and inconvienient. This is one area where DC is vastly different from NYC. [Skeptics: Live in NYC for 2 years without a car, or just consult an MTA route-map for the 5 boroughs.]

3. Higher downtown business costs would be great from an environmental standpoint, moving workers closer to home in the 'burbs. Unfortunately, the USG operates rent/tax free, and is therefore blind/deaf/numb to price signals. Also, DOD's consolidation plans for Ft Belvoir and Bethesda Naval suggest that the USG doesnt really care how people get to/from its facilities. That's your problem--not Uncle Sam's, right?

If a company gives free parking to drivers and nothing comparable to others, then I think that creates the wrong kinds of incentives. Charge drivers even a nominal fee - or better, giving others a nominal subsidy - helps to correct that structure. People on the margins will change their behavior and those for whom driving is still the only option will continue to drive.

Ideally the money this raises would go to improve transit (see Greater Greater Washington for a look at what that might look like) and biking, but it's such a small amount that it would be a drop in the ocean.

An additional problem with this law is that it ignores one source of additional cyclists and pedestrians - fair weather. Some people might bike or walk once a week or only during a few weeks of the year - but that's an improvement. This law won't incentivize them.

The fastest way to get people to ditch their cars is to take away their parking.

One thing that bothers me is the flat rate for parking regardless of the size of the vehicle (especially now with the ticket meters). Couldn't the price of street parking be a factor of both vehicle size (in square inches occupied) as well as time. This would encourage the use of smaller vehicles in the city - and encourage people to think that way generally. Every vehicle could have a pre-determined size code, embedded at registration or parking permit.

I had a friend who used to work at 7-11, he didn't make enough money for a car, so he drove an old vespa to work and locked it to the railing. So I'm not really buying the 7-11 example (on MacArthur Blvd).

Im fine with this, provided that those lovely free parking spaces in front of the Wilson bldg become metered spaces for the general public

Creating easy access to job-sites for low income worker's isn't a hypothetical problem. So I don't see how this bill would help low income workers or make jobs stay in DC. I'm all for creating high density walking/biking friendly cities, but we don't need the DC government to make a raid on parking spaces to finance that. Make DC too expensive, and people will take their jobs elsewhere. Even the USG is willing to move out to the burbs.

You can get a sense of how ill-considered this bill is by the fact the sponsors don't even know how much revenue they could raise -- because they have no idea how many spaces are out there.


I don't love this bill, but I could imagine one that "taxes" parking spaces that I would love.

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