Bellingham parking fees low compared to other cities

The Bellingham Business Journal

The National Parking Association (NPA) has released the results of its second annual Parking In America survey report. The study measures monthly, daily, and hourly rates in cities throughout the United States and Canada, including parking facilities in hospitals, hotels, educational institutions, and airports. It also documents the factors that influence parking rates, such as local taxes and fees, construction costs, and comparable on-street parking rates.

Bellingham’s parking rates range from a minimum of 25 cents for an hour to a maximum of $95 for one month of unreserved parking, which is quite low when compared to other areas of the country studied in the survey.

The survey demonstrated substantial differences in the parking rates people pay by metropolitan areas. For instance, people parking in the central business district of Los Angeles pay a premium, as much as $50 per day, while those in Dallas can pay as little as $6 per day. The survey also found that the recession has taken a toll on parking owners and operators, with downtown parking facilities and airports taking particularly large hits in revenue of 4 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

This year the study also further explored the differences in rates by time of day and duration. Nationwide, the average maximum rate by metro area is $7.73 for a first hour weekday, $20 for daily weekday, $10.75 for early bird weekday, and $10.35 for evening weekday. Rates also fluctuate considerably by type of parking facility: Maximum average daily rates by metro area for hospital patient/visitors is $11.33, hotel overnight guests pay $16.81, long-term on-airport parkers pay $12.38,  off-airport pay $16.65, and educational facility visitors pay $11.21.

Martin Stein, president of the National Parking Association, said the recession has been tough on parking owners and operators, with 71 percent of privately owned central business district facilities and 52 percent of public facilities reporting reduced revenues. Ninety-six percent of airport facilities reported decreased parking revenues.

“As you would expect, the parking industry experiences the same ups and downs as the rest of the economy,” Stein said. “In fact, parking utilization can be a good indicator of the health of the economy, since workers and shoppers need places to park. As the economic recovery begins to pick up steam, we expect that parking facilities across the board will begin to see their revenues increase again.”

Parking In America includes data from 96 cities in the United States and Canada. Participants own or operate nearly 5,900 parking facilities with more than 2.4 million parking spaces.

The National Parking Association is an international network of thousands of parking industry leaders and professionals. NPA’s mission is to serve as a resource to the parking industry and its members by offering access to quality education, networking opportunities, products, and services.

Complete survey results can be found online on the NPA website at www.npapark.org.

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