Parking and Pricing

15 02 2010

According to the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, “parking has tremendous costs (many vehicles are worth less than the parking space they occupy, and the total value of parking facilities is probably much larger than the total value of roadways), and parking supply and pricing have tremendous effects on travel behavior and land use.”

(source) “If you’ve never really thought about parking, it’s astounding how much space that dull activity requires. It’s estimated that in the U.S., there are seven spaces for each car — even if they seem rarely to be right where you want them. The average space is roughly 40 square feet, but to leave room for lanes between the spaces and such, planners generally allow 320 square feet per parking space. That quickly adds up to real acreage. Parking lots are often vastly larger than the restaurants or stores they serve. And if you drive to work, it’s likely that your car requires more square footage in the lot or garage than you do inside the office. All that real estate isn’t cheap. The Victoria Transport Policy Institute calculates that if you take into account land, construction and operations, the cheapest possible parking space — a suburban surface lot for which the land was provided free — has an annualized cost of $242. The most expensive — an underground garage in a central business district — clocks in at $2,288. When the space is free to the driver, that means that someone (the store, the restaurant, the employer, the city) is subsidizing the cost. It’s likely that, as Houston grows denser still, and as our public-transit options improve, the city, developers and business owners will look for ways to cut back on those expensive parking spaces, or at least to make sure that they’re better used. Maybe we’ll see more employers offering bus or train subsidies or charging to park in the office garage. Maybe malls and shops will offer alluring, super-deluxe transit.”

(source) Typical Parking Facility Financial Costs

Type of Facility Land Costs Land Costs Construction Costs O & M Costs Total Cost Daily Cost
  Per Acre Per Space Per Space Annual, Per Space Annual, Per Space PerSpace
Suburban, On-Street $50,000 $200 $2,000 $200 $408 $1.36
Suburban, Surface, Free Land $0 $0 $2,000 $200 $389 $1.62
Suburban, Surface $50,000 $455 $2,000 $200 $432 $1.80
Suburban, 2-Level Structure $50,000 $227 $10,000 $300 $1,265 $5.27
Urban, On-Street $250,000 $1,000 $3,000 $200 $578 $1.93
Urban, Surface $250,000 $2,083 $3,000 $300 $780 $3.25
Urban, 3-Level Structure $250,000 $694 $12,000 $400 $1,598 $6.66
Urban, Underground $250,000 $0 $20,000 $400 $2,288 $9.53
CBD, On-Street $2,000,000 $8,000 $3,000 $300 $1,338 $4.46
CBD, Surface $2,000,000 $15,385 $3,000 $300 $2,035 $6.78
CBD, 4-Level Structure $2,000,000 $3,846 $15,000 $400 $2,179 $7.26
CBD, Underground $2,000,000 $0 $25,000 $500 $2,645 $8.82

The High Cost of Free Parking: The Movie

(source) Typical Parking Facility Financial Costs

  Spaces Per Vehicle Annual Cost Per Space Paid Directly By Users User-Paid Costs External Costs Total Costs
Residential 1 $600 100% $600 0 $600
Off-street 2 $800 5% $80 $1,520 $1,600
On-street 2 $400 5% $40 $760 $800
Totals 5     $720 (24%) $2280 (76%) $3,000 (100%)

“This table shows an estimate of total parking costs per vehicle and their distribution. It indicates that users only pay directly for about a quarter of total parking costs. The rest are borne indirectly through taxes, reduced wages, and additional costs for goods and services.”

Carfree Design Manual

Many economically successful areas, such as large commercial centers, have limited parking and high parking prices (Martens, 2006). Real estate market analysis suggests that traditional urban areas, where parking is limited and priced, often experience greater economic growth than suburban areas (LLREI, 2000). This suggests that parking pricing and other management strategies are not necessarily harmful to local economic development if an area is attractive and accessible in other ways (Roth, 2004; Martens, 2006). Using existing parking supply more efficiently tends to support TDM and Smart Growth objectives, providing additional economic, social and environmental benefits…Generous parking requirements help create low-density land use patterns with dispersed destinations and unattractive streetscapes, that are unsuited for walking, and therefore for transit, since transit trips usually involve pedestrian links. Devoting land and funds to automobile parking often reduces the resources available to support other modes. As a result, policies that increase parking supply tend to reduce overall transportation choices.

(source) “Over the years, (in Hoboken, NJ) various zoning requirements have gradually been enacted requiring off-street parking minimums and, recently, even an effort to “decouple” parking from new developments. But these efforts have not been implemented with gusto, and critical missing components have resulted in several “Don’t try this at home, kids” lessons for other municipalities to learn, such as charging separately for an off-street parking space in a new development but not prohibiting these owners from acquiring dirt-cheap on-street parking permits for the first car in their household. The result for that seemingly minor disconnect in policy is that many off-street spaces remain unowned, unoccupied, and unused while other residents roll the cost of rights to an off-street parking space (a reasonable price is, say, $30,000) into their mortgage, and then lease out that space at $150/month while they pay $15 to park on street all year. You gotta love capitalism, folks!”

(source) “The Los Angeles City Council Budget and Finance Committee approved a plan to partially privatize city-owned parking garages, but not meters, for the next fifty years to help fill a massive budget hole in the short term. The city is hoping to raise $189 million from the transaction which would basically be a 50-year outsourcing of the garages’ management and profits. Some of the management and profits would remain with the city, and some experts are pointing to other aspects of the plan which could lower the city’s $189 million asking price and hamper efforts to bring major reform to our city’s already wasteful parking strategies.”

(source) “State lawmakers are taking aim at what some of them see as a menace to California’s environment: free parking. There is too much of it, the legislators say, and it encourages people to drive instead of taking the bus, walking or riding a bike. All that motoring is contributing to traffic jams and pollution, according to state Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), and on Thursday he won Senate approval of a proposal he hopes will prompt cities and businesses to reduce the availability of free parking. “Free parking has significant social, economic and environmental costs,” Lowenthal said. “It increases congestion and greenhouse gas emissions…The problem with free parking is it’s not free.”
Some Case Studies



2 responses

24 02 2010
25 03 2010

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