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Searching for Curb Parking Causes 30% of Central Business District Congestion

(p. A19) MOST people view traffic with a mixture of rage and resignation: rage because congestion wastes valuable time, resignation because, well, what can anyone do about it? People have places to go, after all; congestion seems inevitable.

But a surprising amount of traffic isn't caused by people who are on their way somewhere. Rather, it is caused by those who have already arrived. Streets are clogged, in part, by drivers searching for a place to park.

Several studies have found that cruising for curb parking generates about 30 percent of the traffic in central business districts. In a recent survey conducted by Bruce Schaller in the SoHo district in Manhattan, 28 percent of drivers interviewed while they were stopped at traffic lights said they were searching for curb parking. A similar study conducted by Transportation Alternatives in the Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn found that 45 percent of drivers were cruising.

. . .

If cities want to reduce congestion, clean the air, save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve neighborhoods -- and do it all quickly -- they should charge the right price for curb parking, and spend the resulting revenue to improve local public services.

For the full commentary, see:

Donald Shoup. "Gone Parkin'." The New York Times (Thurs., March 29, 2007): A19.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

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