Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thoughts on the PAT Transit Mess

I'm planning on commenting on this again as 12/1 approaches, but for now (since they're about to close the aircraft door)... I have a reminder on how I feel about the PAT Transit Mess and its solution. It's pretty simple. PAT has to cut back because there are not enough people who use it. Why don't people use it? Simple, because it is easy to park downtown for $15. As I write this, I am sitting in an airplane in San Francisco after a weekend visit. When I was downtown, parking was $3.00 per half hour with a daily maximum of $40. Guess what, people take public transportation. In my humble opionion, if you want to make PAT a quality service in Pittsburgh, charge a HEFTY tax on parking. Use the excess money to help PAT grow to meet the new capacity and to fund some tax breaks for the companies and real estate development companies that will be redeveloping the no longer needed massive parking garages.

Unfortunately no politician can suggest this, because it will piss off tons of people, but I firmly believe this would be the best thing for the Burgh.


Schultz said...

Good point about raising the parking rates. I believe in charging more for things that are in limited supply - like downtown parking spaces during the week - so they should be charging more money - or the city should be imposing higher taxes on parking so they reap the benefits of the additional revenue. I don't see the risk politically, at least for the mayor and city council, since more people who park downtown live outside the city.

People who work downtown rely on public transportation though - if there is a strike its going to cause a huge headache for not only the riders but also for the downtown companies who have to start allowing some of their employees to work from home on certain days of the week. We ride the T and if we don't get to the Castle Shannon station lot by 7:50 or 8am there are no parking spots left. Even with gas prices dropping I think most people who started taking it to save money are sticking with it, which is a good thing, and I think we would have thousands more people in the South Hills riding the T if they finally extended it to Oakland. That would be a huge win for not only those of us in the South Hills but the entire region since the two largest employment centers would be connected.

Burgher Jon said...

People who work in Pittsburgh don't rely on public transportation enough for us to be able to create reliable transit. According to the P-G article about "45%" of people take public transit to work. That's too low, especially since so few people actually live downtown. Why live downtown when you can commute in a car from the suburbs for $15 per day? We need to cut down on the 41,486 spots in the city (Briem) if we want to incent people to move downtown and/or take public transportation.