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The economics of parking

March 23, 2012 | Alliant Credit Union

Finding - and paying for - a parking space has become a challenge for people around the world, particularly in big cities.

Crunch time in the U.S. started around 1929 when more than 23 million cars traveled along its roads. That's when the first multi-story garages were initially constructed. Staffed by professional parking attendants, you weren't allowed to park your own car. But some sites offered babysitting while you shopped.

Meanwhile, another option, a metered parking space, was invented by Carl McGee in Oklahoma City, OK. On July 16, 1935, 175 parking meters were installed and tested on14 blocks in that city. Soon they were installed all over the town. The upshot: the city's parking congestion was solved and the city accumulated revenue (5 cents an hour for the meter and $25 a ticket for each violation - big time money for that day). Additionally, downtown commercial property rose in value. Soon other cities followed suit.

Today, paying for parking takes a hefty chunk out of many people's pocketbook. The good news, if you can call it that, is that monthly parking rates in garages around the world decreased by 0.2% last year. The bad news: for many people, it still costs a pretty penny.

In 2011, the median cost for daily parking in the U.S. was $16.49 (and the median cost for monthly parking: $155.22).1

Which cities have the highest parking rates in the country, you might ask. Well, here's a list of the most costly monthly rates in the land1:

New York City (midtown, including Manhattan)    

$541

New York City (downtown)

$533

Boston, MA

$438

San Francisco, CA

$375

Philadelphia, PA

$303.63

Seattle, WA

$294

Chicago, IL

$289

Washington, DC

$260

Honolulu, HI

$217.28

Los Angeles, CA

$209.50

Although the high cost of U.S. parking can cause you to bellyache, some cities in other countries have it far worse. For example:

London (the city)

$1,083.59

London (West End)

$1,014.32

Zurich

$ 822.15

Hong Kong

$ 744.72

Tokyo

$ 744

Rome

$ 718.90

What are the parking rates like where you live? And have you a found a way, such as public transportation or bike riding, to minimize your expenses for this? Let us know.

 

1 Colliers 2011 parking rate survey. Sources: okstate.edu, enchantedlearning.com, npr.org, crainsnewyork.com and wikipedia.org


© 2012 Alliant Credit Union. All Rights Reserved.

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