My drive to work today was a little discombobulating.
As I made my drive from my house on the Lower West Side, I mean West Sedona, through Midtown, I mean the Coffee Pot Drive area, to the Upper East Side, I mean Uptown, I didn’t notice the landmarks one would associate with Manhattan — no skyscrapers, no videoscreen billboards, no halal restaurants.
It wasn’t until I sat in the editor’s chair in the newsroom — of course I mean on the ground floor Sedona Red Rock News, not sixth floor of The New York Times nor the 11th floor at BuzzFeed — that the reason for my confusion became apparent: According to the new Sedona parking fee schedule for meters in Uptown, visitors will pay more per hour than many of the 1.6 million people in Manhattan.
To use the new parking meters in Uptown, drivers will pay $2 for the first, second and third hours, $4 for the fourth hour and $6 for the fifth hour. Thus a stay for three hours will cost $6, four hours will be $10 and five hours will cost $16.
In comparison, in New York City above 110th Street, i.e., Central Park, the rate is $1 per hour. From 96th to 110th streets, i.e., parallel to the northern third of Central Park, the rate is $1.50 per hour, and below 96th Street, the rate is $3.50 per hour.
Thus parking on the street in Midtown or on the Lower East Side or near Battery Park for five hours will cost you $17.50, just $1.50 more than the $16 it will cost to park in Sedona.
Parking in downtown Phoenix will also be less expensive than Sedona as paid parking citywide there costs $1.50 per hour.
Shopping and dining in Uptown shouldn’t cost more than Phoenix ComiCon or a Diamondbacks game. When the city floated the idea of installing parking meters in Uptown, officials suggested the installation would be used to encourage drivers to use the free municipal parking lots off State Route 89A, generate revenue for the Uptown area and increase parking spot turnover by discouraging drivers from parking for half a day in the same spot.
Despite grumbling from most Uptown merchants who fear losing money because all tourists will refuse to park in Uptown — tourists will still park and shop, just not on State Route 89A — the parking rates will cause new problems: With the high rates, many drivers who will be willing to pay a few bucks to park for a few hours will see the New York City-esque rates and go right back to their cars to park elsewhere for free.
That likely means a car that just parked will be backing up into traffic again, causing congestion immediately after having just alleviating it to head to the city’s lot, or the residential streets in Uptown or elsewhere in Sedona.
The parking meters should benefit the city, not exacerbate the one problem all residents say is the city’s biggest — traffic. BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS