Tacoma Urbanist

Sep. 19, 2010 at 12:01am

The Success or (Utter) Failure of Tacoma's New Paid Parking System Depends on Setting the Right Price

As most Tacomans are aware, parking in downtown Tacoma will now cost 75 cents per hour throughout most of downtown.

However, as world renowned parking expert Professor Shoup points out:

[t]he purpose of right-priced curb parking is not to gouge drivers or to maximize revenue. Instead, the right price is the lowest price that will avoid shortages. In order to avoid such shortages, Shoup reflects that [t]raffic engineers usually recommend that about 15 percent of curb space-one space every seven-should remain vacant to ensure easy ingress and egress.

Hence, the critical issue that will define whether Tacoma's paid parking system succeeds or fails will be the willingness and ability of the city to set the rates right in each area of downtown based on the demand for parking in each area.

Should the price be set too high, potential shoppers and patrons of downtown Tacoma will be driven out.


San Francisco

San Francisco varies parking rates with demand throughout the day to maintain the right balance:




Olympia, WA

Similarly, Olympia has four separate parking rates downtown based on the demand for each area


Prognosis for Tacoma


The City of Tacoma has arbitrarily set parking rates at 75 cents per hour in each and every portion of downtown.  This may be the right rate to create a 15 percent vacancy on the south portion of downtown. 

However, given the already high parking vacancy in the north portion of downtown Tacoma, the rate might well be too high and could cause excessive vacancy to the detriment of business in this area of downtown Tacoma.

There will no doubt be a period in which people will have to get used to pay stations.  After this time, the City of Tacoma is going to have take a hard block by block view of the parking vacancies and re-adjust parking rates accordingly.

If the city focuses on keeping around a 15 percent vacancy downtown, the pay stations will successfully add to the life of downtown Tacoma by being part of a good parking management system.

On the other hand, if the city lets revenue interests determine parking rates, downtown Tacoma could be detrimentally effected and local business might find themselves in a position of asking the city to restore free parking as they did in 1977.

Hopefully, the City of Tacoma can get it right this time:



comments [86]  |  posted under Tacoma

Comments

by KevinFreitas on 9/20/2010 @ 8:30am
Paid parking downtown starts today! Saw the meters down along Dock Street for the first time as well. Still think the 2 hour limit is lame, lame, lame, City of Tacoma!

by The Jinxmedic on 9/20/2010 @ 9:09am
Yup.

comics.feedtacoma.com/ocryx/ocryx-ocryx-...

by tacoma1 on 9/20/2010 @ 9:16am
I believe that any one that wants to park longer can pay at any of the private parking garages scattered throughout DT Tacoma. It's not like their aren't parking options available to DT workers.

Most people that commute to Seattle (like myself) wouldn't dream of driving there. The cost of parking combined with the cost of gas makes it just too expensive to do so.

Personally, I'd happily pay 75 cents or even more, to park near Two Koi when I want some sushi. Although I normally go DT without my car, I have to admit that whein I've had my car DT, that I've circled the block a couple of times by UWT, couldn't find a parking spot, then said to hell with it and went on home to eat. If a pay spot would have been open those times, Two Koi would've seen me inside their restaurant noshing sushi in short order.

by Erik on 9/20/2010 @ 10:03am
Unfortunately a rainy day for the first day of paid parking downtown. Bummer.

The parking vacancy has increased to around 50 percent around the Matador at Pacific Avenue and 8th. Hopefully, more people will soon get used to them soon and be willing to pay the current rate. It will probably take a month to be able to assess the vacancy for price re-adjustment.

by The Jinxmedic on 9/20/2010 @ 10:15am
Woo hoo! Emptying out downtown in record order!

Wait - this is good?

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/20/2010 @ 10:24am
I'm cheap. In Seattle, I either wait until after 6 to park OR if I have a passenger, make them pay for the parking. Don't forget that they have a 2 hour limit as well.

I suspect that I'll be using the T-dome garage a lot more and that I will be not going to the 13th & Commerce branch of US Bank anymore. The one on Pacific and Puyallup Aves has a parking lot.

Who knows, maybe this will encourage enough additional ridership on the bLink that the City will finally get off it's ass and start using the "less than" $80 million we have for expanding the Link.
I doubt it though. If I was a gambling man, I'd put money on Eric Anderson having Old City Hall torn down for a parking lot.

by Erik on 9/20/2010 @ 10:40am
Please post photos of areas in the paid parking areas and note the time if you come across any. It useful to see what is happening out there.

I will try to take a few in the next couple of days.

by fredo on 9/20/2010 @ 10:49am
"Most people that commute to Seattle (like myself) wouldn't dream of driving there. The cost of parking combined with the cost of gas makes it just too expensive to do so."

When the taxpayers are picking up 80% of the commuters transportation costs it's not surprising that commuting would be less expensive than driving.

by tacoma1 on 9/20/2010 @ 11:06am
Fredo,
You conveniently forget that tax payers are picking up most of the cost to drive too. Subsidized gas, free roads, states like Tennessee throw tons of tax incentives to the Japanese manufactures to build in their state, car companies bailed out by the fed's, cash for clunkers. Now, everyone expects their "free parking" to be paid in advance by tax payers like me who rarely use it.

by downtown on 9/20/2010 @ 11:07am
I only see three empty stalls on Pacific between 10th and 12th. But don't forget it will take a few weeks for the system to normalize. I also see a lot of friendly ambassadors helping people use the pay stations.

Eric, What price would you have started with and how would you know that it is the "right" price?

Kevin, if 75 cents is not the market rate (we had to start somewhere) wouldn't no time limits do more harm than good for the businesses that rely on their customers having convenient street parking?

This system is built to be flexible and respond to demand. Please be patient and help us send the message to the community that downtown Tacoma is accessible and a great place to shop, eat or do business.

by The Jinxmedic on 9/20/2010 @ 11:22am
"downtown Tacoma is accessible and a great place to shop, eat or do business."

I heartily agree. (Especially after 6 PM.)

by tacoma1 on 9/20/2010 @ 11:30am
If I park at 5PM, it's gonna cost me 75 cents extra to shop, eat, or drink all night long. I think that I'll still be able to afford to patronize my fav spots.

by fredo on 9/20/2010 @ 11:31am
" tax payers are picking up most of the cost to drive too. Subsidized gas, free roads" tacoma1

these subsidies ( to the extent they exist at all) accrue to the commuters as much as they do the drivers. Drivers have many out-of-pocket costs besides the "subsidized costs." Commuters don't have any additional out of pocket costs. Think about it. Commuters ride on the same roads and use fuels developed by subsidized exploration and development in just the same way as drivers. In fact, commuters frequently travel on CNG fueled vehicles which drivers don't. This "technology" spoils the underground aquifers, all so that people can enjoy jobs in remote locations.

Does transit have a place in our society? Undoubtedly. Is transit head-and-shoulders better than driving in every situation and do transit riders pay their fair share of the costs compared to the share paid by drivers? The answer is no.

by fredo on 9/20/2010 @ 11:33am
I wanted to mention that you don't have to pay to park in front of the Amocat coffee shop.

by NineInchNachos on 9/20/2010 @ 11:39am
report from downtown... birds eye view of 9th and Pacific: all stalls filled!

by tacoma1 on 9/20/2010 @ 12:17pm
All stalls filled, even at the whopping cost of 75 cents, weird.

@fredo,
50 SOV drivers commuting from Auburn to Tacoma strung out in a line, take about one mile of freeway space. 50 commuters on buses, using the same route would only take up about 1,000 feet. 1,000 commuters on the Sounder take up none of the freeway. Who isn't paying their fair share here? Maybe it is the folks in the cars afterall.

by NineInchNachos on 9/20/2010 @ 12:23pm
going on a walk to get stamps. will give a field report.

by Erik on 9/20/2010 @ 12:45pm
80 percent vacancy in front of City Hall a 11:00 am. It looks like Sunday downtown.

However, we are still in the shock and awe period.

Pacific Avenue is starting to fill up a bit.

Court A and 8th: 70 percent vacant.

Almost totally vacant in front of Puget Sound Pizza which already had huge vacancies before the pay stations went in.

by Erik on 9/20/2010 @ 12:48pm
Coverage in the PI:

blog.seattlepi.com/transportation/archiv...

by fredo on 9/20/2010 @ 12:57pm
"50 SOV drivers commuting from Auburn to Tacoma strung out in a line, take about one mile of freeway space. 50 commuters on buses, using the same route would only take up about 1,000 feet."

Your math skills seem pretty good. What if each SOV (whatever that is) has 4 passengers? Then the SOVs are moving 250 people in a mile of freeway space, the same as the busses. All transported without any sales tax subsidy. I'd say that's an arrangement worth mentioning!

by NineInchNachos on 9/20/2010 @ 1:31pm
the new Takhoman has blessed us with a trip down memory lane

www.thenewtakhoman.com/092010.html

man... Tacoma sounded so alive back in the day.

by The Jinxmedic on 9/20/2010 @ 2:35pm
SOV=Single Occupancy Vehicle.

HOV=High Occupancy Vehicle

TOTOV=Thorax O' Tool Occupied Vehicle

by fredo on 9/20/2010 @ 3:39pm
thanks Jinx, i guess in tacoma1's world every car on the highway has a single occupant and every bus is jammed beyond capacity. it magically transforms transit theory from rebuttable to irrefutable. one problem: what about taxpayers whose employers are not located in proximity to a transit line or who work graveyard shift when there are no transit providers operating? does society have the same obligation to these workers as it does to workers like tacoma1 for whom transit is highly convenient?

by KevinFreitas on 9/20/2010 @ 4:06pm
@downtown -- Thanks for chiming in! I'm not so concerned about the rate so much as the convenience of not having to move one's car quite as often once parked. This is what I'm thinking:

A visitor on a weekend parks down on Dock Street near the MoG. That visitor goes through the museum, the outdoor art installations nearby, the Vitri gallery next door, and on to lunch over at Woody's.

That easily sounds like more than 2 hours to me. Not to mention if that visitor then wants to walk over the BoG into downtown to browse shops, get a cupcake, etc, etc. Maybe that's just a weekend scenario but it just seems a hassle for that person to have to move their car after 2 short hours.

Which brings up another question, if that same person wants to stroll downtown after doing stuff around the MoG can they put more time on their meter or will they *have* to move their car? If the latter is the case that seems to break with creating a more walkable downtown.

by boearc on 9/20/2010 @ 6:17pm
I just tried to park on Pacific Avenue between 7th and 9th this afternoon at 5:30pm and there was not a single space open. After one day of the program, I must conclude the effort is a failure since it did not acheive the required 15% vacancy rate at the exact moment that I wanted to park in front of the establishment that I was intending to visit. Gheez.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/20/2010 @ 6:27pm
TOTOV... I like! Once my transspatial multiplicity device is complete, I'll be able to ride with everybody, even if they didn't know they wanted it!

I look forward to being able to drive in the TOTOV lanes that will soon be built on I-5.

by Erik on 9/20/2010 @ 10:39pm
@boearc: Let's not jump to conclusions yet. Tacomans are going to have to go through the shock and awe period for a bit before the occupancy of each area can be determined. The demand on Pacific Avenue does seem to pick up around 5.

by Jesse on 9/21/2010 @ 8:04am
Remember when the Narrows Bridge first got it's tolls and it seemed EVERYONE said they'd never cross that sucker again? Now you hear nearly nothing about it.

I'd imagine that's how paid parking will go. You'll get some people that avoid downtown because of it, for a while, until they realize that .75 cents is the cost of going about 4 miles in thier car (gas only) and decide it's actually cheap and not worth the hassle of avoiding or trecking back out of downtown because of it.

by fredo on 9/21/2010 @ 8:21am
good comment, Jesse. I was one who said I wouldn't be going to Gig Harbor much longer. We used to go there every couple of months for shopping or whatever, now we rarely go. Yes, it's because of the tolls.

The main distinction between gig harbor/olympic peninsula and DT Tacoma is that gig harbor/olympic peninsula is a huge attraction, DT tacoma...not so huge. Regarding the price of gasoline, I don't think too many people do this calculation when thinking about shopping but undoubtedly some do.

by fredo on 9/21/2010 @ 9:54am
hard to guage public reaction to the new parking arrangements by examining parking patterns this week, most people have probably heard that it's in trial operation this week and no tickets are being given out. for the completely clueless you don't have to pay this week. just park and walk away. park and walk away. park and walk away.

by Erik Hanberg on 9/21/2010 @ 12:47pm
I hadn't realized that you could pay in smaller increments than 75 cents. If you want 20 minutes to run in somewhere, you can pay just a quarter.

That's pretty handy.

by NineInchNachos on 9/21/2010 @ 1:06pm
I wanted to add that it is also nice to have a public time piece all on the same party-line.

by narndt on 9/21/2010 @ 1:06pm
You've got to account for the people who will avoid the paid parking for fear of not know how to us the new-fangled meters, or meters in general, really. Or they might be afraid they won't pay for enough time and be towed...etc.

There's got to be some kind of expected "fear delay" pattern.


by Erik on 9/21/2010 @ 5:19pm


twitpic.com/2qpmgh

Troubling parking scene outside city hall today: 17 adjacent vacant parking spaces right outside Tacoma City Hall at 4:10 p.m. on Tuesday September 21st, 2010 on St. Helens. Yet, this is when the Tacoma City Council meets. This is an area which might need some quick adjustment to the parking rates to lower them in the next month. Target rate should be 15 percent vacancy or one empty space for every 7.

Reference: www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgtF0B_mxuE

Pacific Ave is faring better.

by Erik on 9/21/2010 @ 5:43pm
Here is the picture again.



www.flickr.com/photos/tacoma-urbanist/50...

by fredo on 9/21/2010 @ 6:35pm
Erik, I think this 15% vacancy rate is going to always remain an elusive target. Even if the price was subject to hourly readjustment there would some occasions when every place was filled even with a very high rate and there would be occasions when every space will be vacant even with a very low rate. But I am a bit surprised by all the vacancies you discovered.

by Marty on 9/21/2010 @ 9:39pm
For years the merchants on St. Helens have been screaming that the city employees take up ALL the parking. About once a year the City would send the letter asking city employees not to park in from of the retailers.

It looks like the business owners may have been right all along, There may have indeed been several dozen employees camped out all day.

by Erik on 9/21/2010 @ 11:13pm
But I am a bit surprised by all the vacancies you discovered.

Me too. It was a bizarre scene. The street was more vacant than I had ever seen St. Helens including Sunday. However, we are still in the shock and awe period after which the parking vacancy will improve a bit. We will see how much.

On the positive side, the selection of the parking pay stations look like a good choice. They are the same ones as used in Seattle where many people have been trained to use them.

Wisely, the city has left some of the low demand areas on some hills as free such as by Frost Park and PSP. No one likes to park in these areas and they have relatively low demand. Even offered free, they were largely vacant.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 9/22/2010 @ 12:00pm
Let us revisit this topic in say a month. Like with any disaster the early reports are highly unreliable. Perhaps in a month we'll hear great tales of many happy downtown merchants complaining of overflowing cash registers and having to hire a bunch of new staff to serve all the new customers.

by fredo on 9/22/2010 @ 12:13pm
Crenshaw, I agree.

A lot of the success for the parking arrangement depends on enforcement. It's fine to have all these kiosks and signs and warnings but unless the city is going to get out and ticket offenders, then pretty soon people will just gamble that they won't get the $25 ticket. From my perspective, there is little parking enforcement in Tacoma and the enforcers are all wearing bright orange vests so offenders have plenty of opportunity to move their cars or rush out and feed the meter. The worst parking scofflaws have it completely figured out, I see it on a daily basis..the system can be gamed and it is.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 9/22/2010 @ 2:19pm
It is true, I'm am working on a web cam for the office to monitor the parking enforcement on Broadway and St. Helens. Those bright orange vests are easy to pick up on web cam. Maybe I can get some high power coder to write a script to look at the images and set off an alarm when the vests show up.

by Erik on 9/22/2010 @ 3:08pm
It is true, I'm am working on a web cam for the office to monitor the parking enforcement on Broadway and St. Helens

Very cool Crenshaw. It would be great if you could do a time lapse shot for the day to show parking occupancy over an 8 hour period that could be watched in a minute.

I just walked on Market Street. Almost a complete dead zone south of 11th.

by fredo on 9/23/2010 @ 12:10pm
In the old days you would park your car and immediately feed the meter which was right by your parking place.

Now you park your car and look for the kiosk. Once you locate the kiosk you must familiarize yourself with it's operation (where are those damn parking ambassadors when you need one?) Provided the kiosk accepted your credit card and it didn't experience a paper jam, you now have to remember where you parked and return to place the post-it-note parking slip on the inside of your car. What happens if you return to your car with the slip and you already have a parking ticket under your windshield wiper? What if you have a handicap and it takes you 30 minutes to return? Why isn't there a kiosk at every parking spot? What if a great customer for downtown businesses gets a $25 parking ticket and decides never to return? Wouldn't this be a bad thing?

Crenshaw, please solve these problems for me, if you're done fiddling with your new parking-cam.

by jenyum on 9/23/2010 @ 2:21pm
I believe there is a grace period, for this reason. Cars are tracked on an individual basis so you shouldn't be able to receive a mistaken ticket.


by fredo on 9/23/2010 @ 2:42pm

by jenyum
on 9/23/2010 @ 2:21pm I believe there is a grace period, for this reason. Cars are tracked on an individual basis so you shouldn't be able to receive a mistaken ticket.

So if you have a quick errand you don't have to pay for parking? Is that what you're saying?

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 9/23/2010 @ 3:15pm
I believe the old school parking meters in Olympia give you like like 6 minutes or so for free just by turning the handle before you put in some money. They also take all coins, cents, nickels, dimes, quarters. I've never had a problem with them. You park your car and the meter is right there at your car. In Olympia you can also experience pulling into a parking space with money left on the meter. That is something you'll never experience in Tacoma. Nothing better than expecting to pay for parking and finding enough time left on the meter that you don't need to pay. Where is all that fancy PR we were supposed to get from JayRay for our $50k? They should really consider returning that money to the city.

by fredo on 9/23/2010 @ 3:42pm
...still waiting

Does a grace period exist with regard to the new parking kiosks? And if so what is the length of the grace period?

by NineInchNachos on 9/23/2010 @ 4:53pm
I love the phenomenon pre-paid meters. happy feeling!

by jenyum on 9/24/2010 @ 7:36am
I can't remember where I read about a grace period, it was a while ago. Also, in response to your question about what happens if you are disabled and it takes too long to return: if you have a disabled parking permit you do not have to pay to park in metered zones.

downtowntacomaparking.com/FAQs.html

Anyway, not my job to explain how the parking works you'll have to ask the grace period question of someone who knows.


by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 9/24/2010 @ 11:12am
The City of Tacoma thinks the parking pay stations are slick but there is no grace.

by The Jinxmedic on 9/24/2010 @ 11:32am
Argh.

by Erik on 9/24/2010 @ 12:12pm
There is no grace period for the machines. However, they do allow you to pay a very little amount (like a quarter) for a small amount of time.

Try them out. They are pretty simple to use and if one gives out, you can go to another machine to get your voucher.

by fredo on 9/24/2010 @ 1:13pm
So you park your car and while you're off fiddling with the kiosk they can slap a ticket on your car?

That doesn't sound reasonable nor consistant with the efforts to get more people patronizing DT. Here's a parking haiku for you:

Without some grace
shoppers might leave this
place.

by Marty on 9/24/2010 @ 1:39pm
A few thoughts and answers:

1) I inquired and was told there is a two min grace period.

2) A quarter will get you 20 minutes.

3) There will be no changes in parking for persons with disabilities.

From the FAQ: "Any person who meets the criteria for special parking privileges under RCW 46.16.381 shall be allowed free of charge to park a vehicle being used to transport that person for unlimited periods of time in parking zones or areas including zones or areas with parking meters which are otherwise restricted as to the length of time parking is permitted."

4) There may no be time left on meters when you park, however, if there is time on your sticker, what you do with it is up to you. You may use it park elsewhere in the system, or you can hand it off to the next car if you wish to be generous.

by fredo on 9/24/2010 @ 2:00pm
Thanks Marty, you wrote:

" I inquired and was told there is a two min grace period. "

My questions are:

1. Is 2 minutes sufficient time to find the kiosk, acquaint yourself with it's usage, get your parking reciept, and return to your car? Sounds a bit too short.

2. If you can run your errand within the 2 minute grace period, do you need to pay for your parking?

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 9/24/2010 @ 2:14pm
I bet if within the "grace period" if you don't return to your car with a receipt indicating you have paid that you will get a ticket if the parking enforcement people are available. Are the parking enforcement people going to hang around each car without a receipt for two minutes to make sure no one is coming back with a receipt?

by fredo on 9/24/2010 @ 2:18pm
"Are the parking enforcement people going to hang around each car without a receipt for two minutes to make sure no one is coming back with a receipt?"

Yes, parking enforcement would have to wait for two minutes before ticketing the car (IMO). That's what a grace period requires. What if you jump back in your car in less than two minutes, your mission accomplished, and leave within the grace period. Why should you be required to pay?

by jenyum on 9/24/2010 @ 2:31pm
From @TacomaParker:

"No need to run to & from a pay station. It's all about intent. Intend to buy a sticker=no ticket. No intent=risk of ticket."

Presumably, the parking enforcement people can see the pay station. This is probably not rocket science.

by TacomaParker on 9/24/2010 @ 2:40pm
I see our tweet was posted above.Thanks you. Just to reiterate: if you are in the act of securing a sticker for your car, you don’t risk getting a ticket. Intent is key. And, when you pay for parking you actually get two extra minutes on your ticket to account for the time it may take to put the sticker on your car before heading to your destination. However, If you are ducking in to get coffee or running into the post office, you risk getting a ticket, since your intent was never to pay for parking.

by fredo on 9/24/2010 @ 2:42pm
"Presumably, the parking enforcement people can see the pay station. This is probably not rocket science. "

So if there are several cars without stickers and a half dozen people standing in line at the Kiosk, the enforcement officer will be able to tell which cars belong to the people in line and which onces don't? That sounds even more complicated than rocket science.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/24/2010 @ 2:42pm
Thoughtcrime?

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 9/24/2010 @ 2:50pm
What if I need a cup of coffee before I go to the pay station. Maybe I need change and I don't have one of those fancy credit cards but I'll get some change with my coffee. How is some menial city employee able to determine my intent? There are courts of law full of lawyers, judges and jurists and they have a hard time determining intent and we are asking our orange vest wearing meter maids to determine intent?

by The Jinxmedic on 9/24/2010 @ 9:29pm
Double plus ungood thoughtcrime. Stupid proles.

by KevinFreitas on 9/25/2010 @ 10:34am
According to my video walkthrough, 2 minutes may not be enough. ;) Took me about 2:30 to make parking happen.

by Dave_L on 10/20/2010 @ 4:14pm
Hmm, someone I know encountered a kiosk yesterday that wasn't dispensing tickets, and the next kiosk had a person next to it cursing, claiming it had just charged him about $80.
Has anyone had to try the phone help-line yet?

by L.S.Erhardt on 10/20/2010 @ 5:56pm
Last 3 times I went downtown, I parked for free.
How, you ask?

Dumb luck. All 3 times, random people gave me their stickers with time left on it still.

by jenyum on 10/20/2010 @ 7:28pm
That is a scary thought, Dave L. Remind me to bring quarters whenever I go downtown. What's up with them not taking bills, by the way?

The Downtown Tacoma Parking site now forwards to a page on the city site, with the usual fondness for teeny tiny headings and small print. The actual information about how to pay is down near the bottom.

ack.

downtowntacomaparking.com

by panachronic on 10/21/2010 @ 1:30am
"You conveniently forget that tax payers are picking up most of the cost to drive too. Subsidized gas, free roads, states like Tennessee throw tons of tax incentives to the Japanese manufactures to build in their state, car companies bailed out by the fed's, cash for clunkers. Now, everyone expects their "free parking" to be paid in advance by tax payers like me who rarely use it."

Uh, what planet is this on? "Free roads"? Really? Where can I drive on one of these roads?

What Fredo quite properly points out is that most of ST's operating costs are subsidized by gas taxes. I follows then that the bus and train rides of those taking a ride on an ST service are actually being paid for by the drivers they survey as they look out the windows along the way.

So, taking ST to Seattle isn't, in reality, any less expensive than driving. It just costs less to the individual because, when you take ST, you shift the actual cost of the ride to somebody else.

Please get back to me about the free roads, though. I'm dying to know more about this.

by tacoma1 on 10/21/2010 @ 9:21am
Although your post has nothing to do with 'parking" it's chock full of inaccuracies.

The only road in Pierce County that you have to pay to use is the Narrows Bridge. All others are completely free to use as much as your heart desires.

Gas taxes in Washington go to roads. Not a penny of gas taxes goes towards transit.

by fredo on 10/21/2010 @ 9:29am
"Not a penny of gas taxes goes towards transit."

How do the busses get to Seattle...levitation?

by tacoma1 on 10/21/2010 @ 9:36am
Not an inch is funded off of gas tax proceeds.

by fredo on 10/21/2010 @ 9:54am
So what happens to the gas taxes?

by tacoma1 on 10/21/2010 @ 10:03am
Goes towards road maintenance, and only covers a portion of that. Gas tax should be raised so its high enough to be self sustaining towards road improvements and maintenance, IMO.

by captiveyak on 10/21/2010 @ 10:03am
I'll never understand why this parking project is such a big deal/outrage. We have a huge long-term impact and income issue before us RIGHT NOW in the form of the shoreline master plan, and all of the typical "everything the city does is stupid or evil" crowd has been completely mum about it while they lose sleep over parking spaces.

by tacoma1 on 10/21/2010 @ 10:06am
Amen captiveyak

by fredo on 10/21/2010 @ 10:11am
Sorry to have to rebut your statement that gas taxes are only used for road maintenance. Clearly the funding pays for road construction which transit is dependent on:

Fuel Taxes
The 18th amendment to the Washington State Constitution dedicates motor fuel tax collections to �highway purposes". Revenue generated from the gas tax is distributed to counties, cities and state accounts. The state receives about half of the total revenues collected. These are the funds which support the WSDOT highway programs as well as the Washington State Ferry System, which is deemed a state highway system by constitution. Highway construction, maintenance, preservation, administration and debt service on highway construction bonds are all funded by these revenues.

The other half of the fuel tax revenues are distributed directly to cities, counties and other agencies for roadway programs that are not part of the state highway system.

by fredo on 10/21/2010 @ 10:15am
We have a huge long-term impact and income issue before us RIGHT NOW in the form of the shoreline master plan, and all of the typical "everything the city does is stupid or evil" crowd has been completely mum about it while they lose sleep over parking spaces. captiveyak

Why don't you start a discussion about this topic? Most people can easily observe parking problems, shoreline problems are less obvious. If you have special insight bring it to our attention.

by captiveyak on 10/21/2010 @ 10:33am
i've put three articles about it up on Exit133.
www.exit133.com/6028/tacoma-s-shoreline-...

www.exit133.com/5994/city-seeks-public-c...

www.exit133.com/5975/center-for-urban-wa...

The City really, really wants public feedback on this. In Washington, the intent is for waterfront to be owned by the public and accessible. The shoreline master program will address the challenges to access and the plans for increasing it.

There are concerns from the DNR that the current plan does not clearly enough address the serious contamination just beneath the upper layer of seabed from the tip of Foss to the end of the Asarco site. Any small disturbance to this fragile layer can stir decades-old poisons and create serious hazards. The contamination problem is RAMPANT, expensive, and serious. This Master Program is requested by the Department of Ecology to give the City a single approach to shoreline management.

Also, the Foss waterfront plan is part of the program. The shoreline program will also be coordinated with the mobility master plan - for all you cycling and sidewalk enthusiasts.

The City needs your comments by Nov. 3rd.




by panachronic on 10/21/2010 @ 3:49pm
"The only road in Pierce County that you have to pay to use is the Narrows Bridge. All others are completely free to use as much as your heart desires."

Again, what PLANET are you living on?

I pay for roads every time I put gas in my tank, every time I write a rent check, every time I put tabs on my car, every time I buy a candy bar.

Roads don't just sprout like mushrooms after a rainy day. They are bought and paid for by every tax payer in our society, including those who don't drive on them. Roads are NOT free.

"Gas taxes in Washington go to roads. Not a penny of gas taxes goes towards transit."

You are seriously fact-deficient. ST collects gas taxes and applies the funds towards operating expenses. The system is utterly dependent on that subsidy in order to survive. Every time you get on a ST bus and pay $3, people who pay gas taxes pitch in the other $6-7 or so that your ride actually costs.

by panachronic on 10/21/2010 @ 3:51pm
"Not an inch is funded off of gas tax proceeds."

Astounding.

by L.S.Erhardt on 10/21/2010 @ 4:45pm
"ST collects gas taxes and applies the funds towards operating expenses. The system is utterly dependent on that subsidy in order to survive."

Which is interesting, because it creates a HUGE vulnerability. If people en masse start driving more efficient vehicles or start seriously using mass transit, ST, Metro, PT, etc would be up a creek, losing even more of their funds.

When peak oil really kicks in and gas passes $10/gallon, the funding of transit is going to have to be readdressed.

by L.S.Erhardt on 10/21/2010 @ 4:46pm
@ Yak...
I've been kinda mum about it, but I'm planning on attending the next info session on the 27th @ Urban waters.

by tacoma1 on 10/21/2010 @ 4:53pm
ST is funded by MVET (motor vehicle excise tax) and sales tax in the ST zones. PT is also funded by sales tax.

NOT A GAS TAX! Gas taxes go to roads.

Since there is no sales tax on gas in this state..........Not an inch of ST trains or bus routes are funded off of gas tax proceeds.

When I buy my electric car, I will still be contributing to transit funding thru MVET and sales tax on the vehicle purchase. Of course, I won't be contributing much towards road construction.

Ultimately, we should charge a fee or tax based on VMT (vehicle miles travelled). Thats the only fair way to do it. The more you drive (or park in DT Tacoma) the more you pay. The less you drive, the less you pay.

BTW, I never said that roads are free to build, but they are certainly free to use once there built.

by fredo on 10/21/2010 @ 5:08pm
"Ultimately, we should charge a fee or tax based on VMT (vehicle miles travelled). Thats the only fair way to do it." tacoma1

Bicyclists, like the drivers of electric vehicles, contribute little to the maintenance of the roads they enjoy. So charging them a fee based on their VMTs makes perfect sense to me. Thanks tacoma1

by tacoma1 on 10/21/2010 @ 5:11pm
So fredo is in favor of a VMT tax structure. Me too. And ST is still NOT funded off of gas tax proceeds.

by fredo on 10/21/2010 @ 5:26pm
If the VMT tax structure was applied to all vehicles which enjoy the use of the road and would result in the diminishment of the gas tax I guess I would have to support that.