Thursday, June 24, 2010

Reducing Crystal Lake traffic congestion

A friend who lives on Lake Ave. was ruing the upcoming car traffic accompanying the opening of Crystal Lake. It made me wonder: why is the Crystal Lake lot parking free? With meters for cars and free parking for bikes, the city could earn some revenue (some of which could be returned to Crystal Lake for upkeep), lessen congestion on overburdened residential streets, and promote biking simultaneously. The neighborhood should like this.

As bike traffic grows, metered spots for cars could be taken off-line and made available for bike parking.

p.s. Sean has blogged on related ideas here and here.


nmHz / Rhu said...

If the city charges for lot parking, won't it just increase the burden on the neighborhood streets? They're already saturated with parked cars on a hot afternoon.

Nathan Phillips said...

Good point. Maybe solvable with parking restrictions on the streets, but that requires some careful thought.
If the streets get saturated though, they can't get super-saturated.

Matt said...


I agree that we ought not to subsidize parking--anywhere. As Sean often suggests, we should price it to ensure 85-90% utilization rates.

However, by state law, the City has to spend parking meter revenue on regulating parking "and other traffic activities incident thereto." I would argue that this should include things that affect parking demand as well as supply. That could include beautifying pedestrian access ways, providing bike facilities, etc. But this hasn't been tested in case law, as far as I know.

nmHz/Rhu makes a good point about spillover parking. That's always a concern when we charge for parking. The answer is usually better regulation and enforcement.