Monday, July 18, 2011

Atlanta Parking Not as Bad as People May Think

Metro-Atlanta drivers may complain about the city’s enforcement-heavy privatized parking operation, but a new survey shows they shouldn’t gripe about the price of parking downtown.

Colliers International, a Seattle-based commercial real estate firm with offices in metro Atlanta, last week released data showing that in every parking cost measure, Atlanta is below the national average.

Parking in a covered or underground lot in the central business district for an hour costs as much as $40 in midtown Manhattan and $28 in Chicago, the survey found, but the range in Atlanta is $1 to $8.

That’s well below the national average of $2.65 to $8.99, and less than it costs in some smaller cities like Seattle and Cleveland (top rate $12 for both).

Likewise, daily parking is a bargain in Atlanta, at $5-$22, as opposed to the national average of $9.12-$24.25 and Honolulu’s nation-leading $75 top rate.

Monthly unreserved parking — that is, without an assigned space — was even more of a bargain, perhaps reflecting downtown Atlanta’s less-than-optimal office occupancy rate.

On the high side, it was $135 — 60 percent of the national average of $222.51. On the low end, it was really low: $35, or just 34 percent of the $102.69 national average and the envy of midtown Manhattan monthly parkers, who pay $379-$1,200.

As for parking supply, Atlanta was closer to the median, rating, like 73 percent of the 49 U.S. cities surveyed, as “fair.”

Overall, the survey found that parking rates were little changed from 2010, falling slightly for monthly parking and rising slightly for daily parking.

It also found that the proportion of garages with waiting lists had fallen during and since the recession, to 12.7 percent this year from 20.9 percent in 2008.

The most expensive place on the planet to park: legendarily traffic-snarled central London, with an average price for monthly unreserved parking of $1,083.59.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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