New Haven Aims To Solve Parking Problems Downtown
Parking in New Haven has always been a hot topic, but it might have hit its apex in 2018. Two programs introduced this year are aimed at giving city residents and visitors access to parking citywide at reasonable prices.
The first is a plan to adopt a dynamic pricing strategy along the lines of what companies like Uber use when calculating meter fees. Introduced by Doug Hausladen of the New Haven Parking Authority in response to the continuous struggle between the city’s residents and employees, the pricing structure will effectively act like surge pricing by raising the cost of parking in high need zones and times.
According to reporting from the New Haven Independent, the Parking Authority has data on close to 20,000 parking spaces throughout the city, pricing of which “is virtually the same throughout the city no matter how much demand there is throughout the day.” This plan hopes to incentivize drivers to seek out lower cost or flexible alternatives in less trafficked areas of the city, therefore reducing the parking crunch.
It is one of the rare plans that the Parking Authority feels would benefit everybody. Many would still pay for premium parking, with the money going to city coffers; while others would seek out cheaper parking, saving themselves money, and opening up more parking.
Democracy parking back to top
Almost as an addendum to this idea, the city voted to approve what it calls “Democracy Parking.” Residents will be able to park free at the lot at 32 Elm St. to attend municipal meetings.
The proposal was requested by Alder Jeanette Morrison, and supported by six other Alders, with much of the plan coming from Hausladen.
Some residents had voiced the opinion that the cost of finding parking to attend the public forums effectively priced them out of the democratic process.
Although the price of parking was only $3, the vote in support of “Democracy Parking” sends an important message that there should be no barriers to participating in city politics.
Participation is the key function of this offer, and a validation system will be put in place to ensure that the program has not been taken advantage of. Hausladen had already soured on an idea to place the free parking on the street because those not participating would seize the spots without any recourse from the city.
According to Morrison, the plan would lose $35,000 in parking fees to cover the cost of about 90 meters in the area. Theoretically, with the dynamic pricing strategy, the extra income from the premium parking will help cover the lost revenue from those taking advantage of “Democracy Parking.”
For residents and the many who commute to work in the city who know the pain of circling blocks hoping for a space to open up, any strategy that moves to make parking a little easier would be welcome.