Saturday, March 18, 2017

Using Subsidized Parking Benefit for Other Modes

Image: Washington Post
According to the Post, DC Councilman Charles Allen wants employers who subsidize parking for their employees to instead give them the option of exchanging that subsidy for cash to use for paying for using other modes of transportation such as transit or biking. If implemented, this idea could get more cars off the road.

Providing parking isn't cheap, especially structured parking where each parking space can cost around $30,000. When free parking is provided, only those who drive benefit. If commuters are given a choice in how to use that benefit, many might choose to use transit or pay for bike commuting expenses.

One of the bigger controversies in Reston is the decision by Boston Properties to charge for parking. People who drive are shocked that they might be expected to pay to park in that $30,000 parking spot. As our community grows we can expect more places to charge the real cost of parking.

Kudos to Councilman Allen for his innovative approach. We wish him well.
A D.C. Council proposal would require employers who provide their employees with free or subsidized parking to give them the choice to cash out. With that option, workers would be more likely to ditch the car for a more sustainable mode of travel to work, officials say.

“I can much more easily rationalize hopping in my car and driving downtown when I got a free parking spot,” said Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), a lead sponsor of the bill. “But if my employer says, we are going to give you a parking spot or we can give you transit benefits or cash if you bike to work, then I have the flexibility to make the choice that is best for me.”

The change, he said, would address a fairness issue for the workers who sometimes turn down a valuable perk because they don’t drive or who are forced to take it because otherwise they can’t get the benefit any other way.

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