How Government Causes Traffic Jams
The New York Post raises an excellent point with respect to Mayor Mike’s controversial congestion pricing traffic plan. Before we start charging ordinary motorists $8 for the privilege of driving into midtown, we could probably go a long way toward relieving traffic congestion by simply revoking some of the 47,000 special parking permits that allow government bureaucrats to park pretty much wherever the hell they want with impunity. As the Post notes:
The parking placards clearly make driving to work attractive: While 14 percent of private-sector workers come in by car, 27 percent of government staffers do, a 2006 study found. That translates to 20,000 extra drivers a day.
In other words, thanks in large part to parking passes from Mayor Mike – and his bureaucratic friends in Albany and Washington – Gotham must put up with 20,000 more cars on its streets.
The Post goes on to note that “some of these drivers have legitimate reasons for using cars – and getting to park free. Some 8,500 city placards went to the NYPD this year, and about 15,000 to the disabled.” I don’t know why the cops, of all people, should get a pass. Yes, on-duty officers responding to an actual crime in progess probably shouldn’t have to find a meter, but why should they get special privileges just for commuting to work by car? Let the police get a taste of the arbitrary parking rules they enforce on the rest of us and the draconian penalties (typically $115 for a violation below 96th Street) that go along with them, and maybe they’d be a tad more sympathetic before whipping out the ticket book when someone stops momentarily in a no-standing zone to pick up dry-cleaning.
The Post also points out that many of the privileged bureaucrats don’t even adhere to the few simple rules they are theoretically expected to observe. It’s never legal to park next to a hydrant, for example, regardless of any parking placard, but you’ll see Sheldon Silver vote against a tax hike before you ever see one cop ticket another.
Much of the credit for the recent attention on parking-permit abuse goes to UncivilServants.org, a nifty website that helps citizens track illegally parked bureaucrats. Matthew Roth, the editor of Uncivil Servants, will be the guest speaker at the next Manhattan Libertarian Party meeting one week from tonight, on Monday, June 11th.