“Let’s move before they raise the parking rate… ow.”
–Free, “All Right Now”
An idea that has been floated for years, the City of Hoboken will take a look at increasing the parking rate for residents who utilize on-street parking.
An ordinance reportedly being introduced by Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher will see the annual fee for a Hoboken residential parking sticker go from $15/year to $52/year. Significant percentage-wise, the increase means residents of the city directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan go from paying 29 cents to paying one dollar per week for the opportunity to utilize increasingly valuable and vital on-street parking… assuming one can find a spot, of course.
— John Dalton (@jvdalton) December 11, 2019
According to the proposed ordinance, the City would be, “increasing residential permits ~$.29/wk or $15/yr currently to $1/wk or $52/year for the first car,” which currently accounts for around 12,000 vehicles pressed against the curbs of the Mile Square City. For families with more than one car, the rate will go from “$.58/wk or $30/year currently to $2/wk or $104/yr for the second car (approximately 1,600 cars) and from $1.73/wk or $90/yr to $4/wk for the third car (around 300 cars).”
Fisher introduces the ordinance as the Hoboken City Council’s newly appointed Chair of Parking and Transportation. While this may appear on the surface to be an attempt to boost revenue—particularly in the face of a projected $7 million budgetary shortfall—the argument for raising on-street parking rates finds much of its basis in the need to curb on-street parking in this notoriously tight town.
One of the principle theories behind Hoboken’s short-lived dynamic pricing experiment was that exceptionally inexpensive on-street parking exacerbated the problem of finding spots in Hoboken’s neighborhoods.
According to Ryan Sharp, Hoboken’s Director of Parking and Transportation, “Most cities in this region have similar population densities, density of retail and parking demand as Hoboken—and they have parking rates that are much, much higher,” he told us, in an interview with hMAG last February. Ultimately the dynamic pricing model was repealed as response to the rollout had been decidedly indignant in the face of significant sticker shock, prompting the Mayor and Council to re-evaluate the program.
In the case of residential parking, many urban planning advocates refer to on-street parking as “car storage,” as residents typically leave their vehicles in one spot for extended periods of time because its so inexpensive. The argument is that higher on-street parking rates would result in lower on-street parking. The move may even incentivize residents to explore more reliable off-street parking alternatives (garages) nearby, freeing up on-street opportunities for other residents and visitors alike.
Whether that will come into being remains to be seen, but what’s becoming increasingly harder to ignore for many is the notion that Hoboken residential on-street parking is incredibly inexpensive, considering the demand and economic impact parking has on the community. The majority of small businesses in Hoboken will cite parking as one of the most important factors effecting their bottomline. Many residents and business owners are of the opinion that anything that could potentially alleviate the strain of Hoboken’s parking conundrum should be considered, and the parking rate hike is long overdue.
The ordinance amending Chapter 141A-2 to increase the Hoboken residential parking rate is on the agenda for the next Hoboken City Council Meeting on Wednesday, January 15.