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National Pundits Weigh in Against NJ Transit Parking Privatization

December 17th, 2010 by

Princeton Junction Station. Source: Michael Mancuso/Times of Trenton

Since our Future Facts on the issue in November, a number of media outlets in New Jersey have run stories on NJ Transit’s plan to privatize parking facilities at 81 of its stations. Now, several prominent national pundits have weighed in to oppose the plan, particularly for its potential adverse impact on transit-oriented development:

  • “If NJ Transit will pick the winning bidder entirely on the basis of what they want to do in terms of parking, then it’s almost certainly not going to pick someone who’s ideally qualified to build new development on those parking spaces. More to the point, if NJ Transit does not negotiate an independent development agreement with the concessionaire, then the chances are that the land will simply remain a parking lot for decades to come, since the concessionaire at that point has the right and indeed the obligation to continue to run that land in exactly that manner.” –New Jersey’s Stupid Parking-Privatization Plan, Felix Salmon, Reuters
  • The land on which transit parking lots sit is uniquely positioned to be converted into dense development, and the only thing worse than sitting on the land would be for the agencies to sign away their rights to change that within the foreseeable future.”- Private Parking Contracting Giving “Privatization” a Bad Name, Stephen Smith, Market Urbanism
  • Moreover, the privatization of parking management prevents the agency from engaging in what is perhaps the most promising use of that resource: Redeveloping it into transit-oriented developments. In places like the San Francisco Bay Area, former transit parking lots have been successfully morphed into neighborhoods where people live in close proximity to public transportation and therefore use it frequently. Will the privatization deal make such projects impossible? Abandoning Long-Term Revenue for a Quick Fix, Yonah Freemark, The Next American City

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