Sunday, October 11, 2009

The cost of parking spaces

Last August, I read this article on the cost of free parking. The author has some interesting figures:

... parking spaces can cost between $10,000 and $50,000 – typically more than the cost of the car that occupies it. High parking requirements can raise the price of homes and apartments by $50,000 to $100,000.

That sounds a bit high to me, but he also comes in with a specific example:

A recent parking garage project in New Haven, Conn., for example, cost more than $30 million for almost 1,200 spaces – that’s more than $25,000 per space. If you were to finance it using a mortgage, the actual cost would be over $40,000 per space... roughly $135 a month, or $1,600 a year per space – not including externalities like the air pollution and congestion created by increased trips drawn by cheap parking.

The author's point is that there is no such thing as free parking:

... the total subsidy just for off-street parking was between $127 and $374 billion (for comparison, the budget for national defense that year was $349 billion).... The cost of building all that parking is reflected in higher rents, more expensive shopping and dining, and higher costs of home-ownership. Those who don’t drive or own cars thus subsidize those who do.

All of this sounds convincing, but then there is this misleading part about Vauban, Freiburg:

In Vauban, by contrast, drivers must purchase a parking space in the garages at $40,000 each.

As I wrote recently, these parking spaces cost 16,000 euros apiece, which was only around 12,000 dollars at the beginning of this decade, when most of these parking spaces were sold.

So tomorrow, I'm going to start publishing my wrap-up of Vauban in the hope that all of this completely inaccurate reporting will stop.

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