No More Free Parking At The Duquesne Incline
This may be old news to some of the more hard core cyclists on here, but as a fair weather rider myself, I just found out about it during this week’s warm spell. Sometime between the end of my riding season this past year and now, the city decided to install yet another of their parking pay stations. This time, they attacked what was one of the most used lots by people like myself that commute in by car to use the city trails. No more free ride from the Duquesne Incline lot! It is now $1/hour, up to $10 max for 24 hours. Obviously, there are more expensive parking options than this, but I think it boils down to more of an inconvenience on what should be an encouraged recreational activity. Instead, trail users now have to either watch the clock instead of enjoying their day out, or overpay for peace of mind. I think the park under the Birmingham Bridge is still free, but coming from the west, the extra travel on Carson Street, especially on a weekday evening, is less than desirable. As much as I’ve enjoyed starting many of my rides from the Incline, I may now be exploring other options. Does anybody know if the parking authority has gotten their claws on the Chateau Trail parking areas yet?
Last I checked the parking areas along the Chateau Trail are still no fee. So is Millvale, Riverview Park and Swinburne St along the Jail Trail – but that’s where there were a lot of break ins last year.
When they finally get done with the Rt 65 project, that will allow another established park & ride to come back online. I do not know the timeline, though. Seems like that’s been going on forever. At least three full years already.
I wrote about this a few weeks ago: http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/duquesne-incline-parking-lot/#post-288022
I am very dismayed. I live in Crafton, and I loved being able to drive to that lot and start my rides out.
I thought about it some more. It would be interesting to see who actually owns the trail between there and the Liberty Bridge. If the city/friends actually owns the right of way, they could be equal douchebags and charge anyone who walks the trail as a throughway to Station Square from parking lots a user fee.
I think the park and ride use case is a very important one for a still largely bike unfriendly city.
Did the lot tend to fill up? If so, I can understand them wanting to charge, though I’d probably start testing the supply/demand trade-off at half the rates they jumped to. And/or make it seasonal (I assume the incline gets somewhat more rides in the summer).
If the lot didn’t tend to fill up, it’s just a clear loss.
Does multi-modal work from crafton??
I think the Mayor’s just trying to find money wherever he can, looking under seat cushions, charging for parking, while also economizing, getting rid of parking passes and city-provided cars. Makes sense to me.
It depends whether you consider the lot a public good first and foremost in terms of accessibility, or in terms of revenue generation.
The loss leader model can make sense, and I think does circumstantially, when you think it helps tap potential that would otherwise not be realized. I’m maybe on the fence about whether this is such a case, in the large.
But I think either way, it’s silly to charge for parking on a publicly owned lot if it’s largely empty and there’s little revenue to be found. And also, for sure parking in lots should be cheaper than parking in the streets… not sure how other plausibly south side street park and ride options now compare to this lot. At least when you clear out street parking you get better visibility, traffic flow, and room for cushy bike lanes. Empty lots give you nothing.
I think of that lot less as a “south” lot and more as a “west” one. Note that every other P&R lot along the W Busway fills to capacity, and is undersized. It doesn’t surprise me they’re charging for it.
Free parking is a lot more silly. People will ignore the 60+ cents a mile it costs to operate a vehicle (plus all the hidden subsidies that society contributes), yet having to pay for parking is outrageous.
Your goal with a loss leader is to influence perceptions and subsequent behavior in ways you see as beneficial. Making a tourist destination like the incline available to visitors without any extra charges may be one of those. Or it may not. Likewise the fact that it’s on the flat close to downtown makes it attractive to cyclists. May be worth a loss leader there… or not.
The fact that driving is so expensive but people don’t think about it while they’re driving and instead harp on a few bucks for parking or a 25c rise in the price per gallon is yeah, it’s missing the big picture. But you’re not going to change people’s thinking by how you choose to charge for parking.
That’s a bummer! I use the Eliza Furnace parking to commute to events downtown fairly often when the weather is less then agreeable (car / bike commuting). It would stink to have to pay for parking in the Duquesne lot when you go multi modal like that.
*I always try to go for free parking when I can. Even if it means walking an extra mile to get to my final destination.
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