The ‘Cost’ of Free Parking

The ‘Cost’ of Free Parking

April 28, 2017

Before coming to work at Partek Solutions, I never thought much about parking, and I’d never in my wildest dreams imagined there would be such a thing as a “Parking Industry”. Looking back, it seems obvious, but I think that this lack of awareness is what likely fuels a lot of people’s irritation with paying to park.

Early on in my time here I learned that parking spaces can cost between $10,000 and $50,000 each! That number seemed outrageous, nonetheless given their high start-up cost, and ongoing maintenance costs it only makes sense that there be a fee.

Even still, many people feel that they should not be asked to pay for parking, especially in cities wherein they pay taxes. That got me to wondering, what happens when you offer parking for free? The answer, as it turns out, isn’t a good one.

By offering unlimited, free parking, a city will condemn all drivers to long-term and widespread parking shortages. This negatively impacts business in the area, who’s shops are overlooked because ‘new’ potential customers can’t visit without a significant walk.

Another potential problem with free parking is that use of the space does not generate revenue, meaning any parking infrastructure upgrades or improvements in the area in the future will have to be funded primarily with tax dollars. Unfortunately, that’s the cost of free parking.

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