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Thread: Does raising parking meter prices drive down garage parking prices?

  1. #1

    Does raising parking meter prices drive down garage parking prices?

    So I was reading this article in Boston Magazine last night: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/articl..._parking_spot/

    While I've read a lot on planning, transportation planning is where my knowledge is lacking, and I'd like some opinions on this article because it was starting to bug me a little bit.

    The author basically says that: since meter prices are below "market" value for a particular neighborhood, it encourages people to keep filling the meter once they found a spot, or to continue circling and cause traffic while looking for that coveted spot. Ok, I'll agree with that.

    Here's my problem:
    Garages get away with absurdly high prices in part because they snag short-term customers who are in a rush and can't find anything curbside. But if, say, there were always spots available on Newbury—even at something like $5 an hour—nearby garages would have to lower prices to compete. If that happened, drivers would have even less reason to circle for a spot, ensuring yet more on-street parking and less traffic.
    I see the idea of constant spots being available curbside causing garages to lower prices, but I just don't really believe that $5 an hour curbside parking will still make people automatically go to the garages, which charge something like $15 an hour.

    How about taking meters away all together? Having posted two hour parking with vigilant meter-people forces people to stay for a short term, especially since the price of a parking ticket is super high, much higher than if there were meters. This way people can't fill the meters every two hours. Then again, that might just force more people into garages, then raise garage prices, but still keeps the curbside parking as short term parking.

    But like Transportation commissioner Tom Tinlin said in the article: "You don't want high parking rates to be an incentive for people not to go into the city." I agree with him. I'm not sure what the answer is here, besides public transportation. But for me, who has to drive to a commuter rail station, it costs $6 each way (times two people), plus $3.50 to park. So, we're already at $27.50. Hmmm....

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    As a Bostonian...

    The meters are way too cheap. Why do the private garage owners get so much for spaces while the public gets so little? There is certainly room to raise meter rates and still be cheaper than garages. Will the garages come down. Don't believe it.

    As long as Boston stays busy (and despite the cost of gas, etc. it is very very busy), then it is priced right, even if it is expensive. Newbury Street and Copley Place are doing well, the Natick Collection (with free parking) is not. What does that say?

    Of course this is easy for me to say since I can walk everywhere.

  3. #3
    As long as Boston stays busy (and despite the cost of gas, etc. it is very very busy), then it is priced right, even if it is expensive. Newbury Street and Copley Place are doing well, the Natick Collection (with free parking) is not. What does that say?
    Very good point...Natick was pretty much a bust. Burlington is due to open this year, along with North Shore...wonder how they will work out? So you're right, it does say a lot.

  4. #4
         
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    *puts to one side North America's love for vehicles*

    Would raising meter prices significantly, and garage prices remaining high, force people to consider other modes of transport? Or car sharing for trips into town?

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by HarryFossettsHat View post
    *puts to one side North America's love for vehicles*

    Would raising meter prices significantly, and garage prices remaining high, force people to consider other modes of transport? Or car sharing for trips into town?

    No but raising the price of gasoline to over $4 a gallon or $1.20 a litre sure the heck does!
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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    thats nothing, wait til it hits $2.22 a litre

    you'll still see people in cars...

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    I think the answer is no, meter pricing does not impact garage pricing. If there is no available on street parking, then the parking meters are too cheap. Meters are normally designed for short term users, while garages are for multiple hour users. If the garages were not getting cars in them, they would lower their price, but there is never enough on street parking to accomodate all vehicles, particularly in an urban setting.

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    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by cololi View post
    Meters are normally designed for short term users, while garages are for multiple hour users.
    This should be the case, but I don't know of many major American cities where it actually is true, since meters are almost always underpriced - and enough so that people will gladly face the hassle of feeding the meter (since time enforcement is also usually pretty lax) to avoid high garage prices.

    That being said, I don't know of many places where there would be enough street parking to actually have an effect on garage prices going down if meter prices went up.
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

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    The answer is, "no."

    In fact higher on-street rates should raise off-street rates by shifting long-term demand to the off-street spaces.

    The reality is that on-street parking is incredibly valuable and is most valuable to short-term parkers. The best analogy is airport parking, where the most convenient spaces are much more expensive than the park-ride lots.

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    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    I don't know what the answer about off-street parking vs. on-street parking. But I do think that meters are way too cheap. The way to go is to increase the meter rates until there is some (15%) vacancies - then put the extra meter money back into the area in the form of amenities. There would be less circling around - and those who had a chance to take transit instead might do so. This is a strategy we are looking at in my office right now. We'd even like to consider charging for the "free" side street spaces in order to raise money for those neighborhoods and to tap into that extra supply (right now its free but limited to 2 hours only - we'd charge for parking but allow 10 hours at a time, possibly.)

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    Prof. Donald Shoup at UCLA has written some interesting articles about the price of parking and the absurd number of drivers who will drive around and around looking for that ideal meter space- and how those drivers contribute to congestion.

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    http://shoup.bol.ucla.edu/

    Check out "Cruising for Parking"
    There are actually two versions of this article that you can download. They each have slightly different information and are both good.

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    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by shelbycakes View post
    Very good point...Natick was pretty much a bust. Burlington is due to open this year, along with North Shore...wonder how they will work out? So you're right, it does say a lot.
    The Natick collection stores are too far apart, the hall width is too wide and the kiosks are replaced with arty trees and a high atrium--it doesn't offer the same shopping fun as the merchandising chaos that are some malls (e.g. Cambridgeside Galleria).

    I've been shopping at the Burlington Mall during holidays for the past couple years. They are crazy to add more space because it means less parking and more people. It already takes an hour to find a parking space and its a horribly anti-social experience. But maybe with the economy in the crapper, people might not go as much. Or maybe they'll still go, they just won't buy as much.

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