August 18, 2022 by Dave Colon

Time to park this fear in the dustbin of history.

The MTA’s environmental assessment for congestion pricing reveals that a long-held fear — namely that neighborhoods just outside the 60th Street toll boundary will be flooded with suburbanites looking for parking before finishing their commute by subway — just isn’t going to happen.

In the parking analyses done for the environmental study, the MTA’s traffic modelers wrote that, at worst, up-to-the-border driving would be a short-term phenomenon that would fade away as people realized that there just isn’t any parking.

“Although there could initially be some modest level of vehicular traffic searching for parking in neighborhoods outside the Manhattan CBD to avoid the toll, the behavior would most likely be short-lived as part of the adjustment process,” the agency wrote. “Time spent by motorists searching unsuccessfully for free, available parking just outside the Manhattan CBD boundary would eventually result in … overall reduction in vehicular traffic and an increase in transit use in the regional study area.”

The EA even notes that with the reduced travel demand inside the CBD, “fewer people may seek parking in the areas just inside the Manhattan CBD” and that the lack of trips south of 60th Street could actually lead to a parking glut in the neighborhoods just south of 60th Street.

Beyond the fact that it would be extremely annoying for people to search for on-street parking spots that already disappear faster than tickets to a Jacob deGrom start, the environmental assessment also contains a pair of charts that show the expected change in vehicle miles traveled broken down by areas inside and outside of the CBD. The blocks in Manhattan closest to the toll boundary, between 60th Street and 82nd Street, are predicted to see a 16.1-percent drop in VMT depending on the toll price, compared to a future where no toll is implemented. In Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods near Manhattan, the VMT reductions could go as high as 10.3 percent in Long Island City, 14.5 percent in Downtown Brooklyn and 9.6 percent in Williamsburg.

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