Thursday, June 12, 2008


A little snark... but some news segment on one of the evening news broadcasts was talking about gas prices and all the changes people are making to deal with them. One method was interesting. It said that municipalities around the country were even going out of there way to calibrate traffic signals to help out gas consumption. Anyone know how long it has been since the city of Pittsburgh (where the region's traffic converges) has had an actual certified traffic engineer who can do that? Does the city even have a dedicated traffic planner (a different type of position) any more?
Which reminds me of this advertisement... and my little annotation:

For all the talk of increased transit usage (much more so elsewhere in the country than here) I was reminded of the other little issue of parking Downtown. I am told that high gas prices or not the parking situation Downtown is as tight as ever and by mid-morning if not earlier it is virtually impossible to find a parking spot for the day in a Downtown lot. Gas prices aside, the parking situation Downtown can really only get worse in the coming year. There has to be some parking impact still to be caused by the accelerating construction of the arena and casino.

This came to mind because of a piece in the Trib last week that had a picture and a quote that spelled it out quite clearly from a commuter who said she only began driving to work recently because of route cuts at the Port Authority. Why do we sometimes seem to do the opposite thing of everyone else in the country?

And again, gas prices or not consider that the city of Pittsburgh is mandated to continue lowering the parking tax rate to the 'normal' 33% which may not mitigate gas prices, but be a little incentive to some to drive more, not less for those who commute into Downtown. Tax rollback or not, I would be surprised to see any net savings to parkers anytime soon.

Where will gas prices hurt the most. Pittsburgh proper is no longer listed in the top 50 cities in the US so it is not included in this report... but a recent report on cities that are most vulnerable to gas prices is here from Common Current:


Blogger EdHeath said...

We need that windfall profits tax on oil companies, which could be used to subsidize diesel for bus companies and school districts, and possibly subsidize bus companies’ fares so the charge to us could be reduced. Since the price per gallon of gas would likely go if the windfall taxes were implemented, it would like drive more people to public transportation.

Thursday, June 12, 2008 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Burgher Jon said...

"mandated to continue lowering the parking tax rate to the 'normal' 33%"

I was not aware of this. Could you refer me to more information about where this mandate comes from and why? I have long thought that a higher tax on parking to benefit public transportation would tip our scales in the same direction as the rest of the country. It would get us out of the dangerous spiral where less riders means less funding means worse transit means less riders means less funding means.....

Thursday, June 12, 2008 2:09:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I believe Act 47 mandates the parking tax being lowered back to where it was before over the next couple of years. Expect city council to balk further at that reduction, especially as I predict there isn't going to be much lowering of actual parking costs to the public.

The parking tax here may impact transit indirectly, by giving more incentive to not drive, but there is no direct benefit. Parking tax revenues for the city are essentially general fund resources.

Thursday, June 12, 2008 7:29:00 PM  
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