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Old 07-22-2014, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
2,975 posts, read 4,087,330 times
Reputation: 1208

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Here's a thought experiment to think about the cost of parking in a major city. Imagine if you shut down all mass transit into New York, New York, and then everybody had to drive and park in the city (road capacity must be considered hand-in-hand with parking, after all). You now have to expand the roads and build dozens of large parking garages to accommodate these people. You have to demolish existing businesses and residences, sidewalks, and parks to find the space for this endeavour. Oh, and in the case of NYC you'd better be prepared to build a couple new GW bridges. Either that, or businesses and residents will simply leave and/or not go into the city and spend money. The cost of "lost opportunity" must be considered here. And if your human dignity is still in tact after all this, you still have to pay for subsidized cab or van rides for people who simply physically cannot drive and still need to get to doctor appointments. Either way, you would be costing the City LOTS of money, not to mention prestige...(not to mention that car-dependent downtowns in the US are some of the most boring places in the world...)

By the time you account for the space, lost business opportunity, tax revenue, and prestige lost in the alternative car-dependent scenario, perhaps having a subsidized transit system makes good business sense in an urban environment. Think of it as a loss leader, if you will. A parking spot can only draw in as many people as fit in the car. A solid mass transit station brings in thousands with the physical foot print of a couple of parking spots. For a more limited, less successful system, you're still talking hundreds of riders, and that's still a lot of parking spots, and it's still advantageous. (Of course, if you struggle to get even a hundred of riders, you probably don't need a mass transit system). The point is, if you build a car-dependent city or a transit-dependent one, either way it's going to cost a lot of money.

 
Old 07-22-2014, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,089 posts, read 16,121,723 times
Reputation: 12673
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
It depends. The thing is, we don't actually pass the true price of parking on to the users. Only rarely. There are some buildings were they sell the spot outright for the true cost, but most of the time it is built into everyone's price.

Let's use your example of the $275/month parking spot. Let's pretend it costs $30k to build. It'll take over 9 years for the developer/owner to just recoup the price of the parking spot. It doesn't become profitable until about year 10. Real Estate developers aren't waiting 10 years for a profit, so they up the price on everyone else's unit to make up for it. So the parking space user pays $275, and everyone else pays an extra $20, 50, $75 so the developer can reach his target profit margins on time.
No, that rarely happens either.

In a few cases parking is efficiently priced at the market rate which is completely different than the "true price." Generally parking isn't very efficiently priced, partially because it has such a high variable demand. Say Cal is playing... suddenly there's a huge demand for parking. The fraternity/sororities arbitrage that a bit, but generally it's just a pain. Parking rates don't change aside from a few scalping Greeks and a private lot or two. Nothing of the magnitude that would take into account an extra 20,000 cars in the area. It's an extreme example, but it highlights what happens with parking. Parking has a set rate that half the time doesn't reflect the market rate at all (and we're talking only about urban areas here) even on some aggregated average.

Real estate developers seldom wait for ten years, that's true. However, you may be aware of the concept of a lease? You may even rent an apartment yourself. Maybe it's new, maybe it's not, but living in the Bay Area, I'm sure you're aware of the existence of new apartment buildings. Parking is no different. In general, the developer does not own the building. There are exceptions to that. Calhoun in Seattle (aPodments) is a developer and real estate holding company. But generally you're correct. The developer as a rule sells the building, including the parking, to a holding company who then manages the property, charges rents for apartments, leases out parking spots, or just leases out or sells the entire garage to a separate entity who operates it.

Getting back to that true cost thing. There's no such thing as "pricing up." A developer is going to sell something they develop for the most they can get for it. Period. Sometimes that means they get less than the "true price"; most of the time they get more. They wouldn't be in business for long otherwise.

Let's pretend it takes $30k to build. That's a 10% ROI, not shabby. Of course, there's taxes. Take Moda Apartments, a new complex in Belltown in Seattle. A 450 square foot studio is $1,400/mo. That's about the same ~10% ROI, again ignoring taxes and maintenance, common areas, utilities, insurance and what not. That's also assuming $400/sq foot which is below the average for Belltown. Very similar to the garage. What really makes real estate worthwhile isn't some insane ROI and get rich quick schemes. It's leverage.
 
Old 07-22-2014, 11:28 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 29 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,038 posts, read 102,742,261 times
Reputation: 33084
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Have cars per household increased much since the 70s? I would have assumed car ownership was near current levels by then. I've visited denser areas with no off street parking where finding a street parking space wasn't too hard, car ownership is probably lower than Pittsburgh but the higher density at least canceled it out. Actually, the worst IME is the Boston area as it requires residential parking permits. Good for residents, not so good for visitors. Well if your friends bother to give your a visitor permit it works, but this particular friend didn't bother have it findable.



Ok, what I meant is what others call "need" I might consider "nice to have".
Yes, see the second slide in this link.
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...71198958,d.aWw

Note cars/household hasn't increased much since 1980. Household size is dropping. You can do the math better than me, but it comes down to "more cars out there".

Denver has residential permits in some residential areas, mostly those that are very near commercial areas, e.g. 31st Ave where 32nd is a commercial area, etc. We used to live within walking distance of Mile High Stadium, and there were some restrictions on "game day", plus some residents made money by renting out their driveways for parking.

Certainly cars circling looking for parking wastes fuel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
No, that rarely happens either.

In a few cases parking is efficiently priced at the market rate which is completely different than the "true price." Generally parking isn't very efficiently priced, partially because it has such a high variable demand. Say Cal is playing... suddenly there's a huge demand for parking. The fraternity/sororities arbitrage that a bit, but generally it's just a pain. Parking rates don't change aside from a few scalping Greeks and a private lot or two. Nothing of the magnitude that would take into account an extra 20,000 cars in the area. It's an extreme example, but it highlights what happens with parking. Parking has a set rate that half the time doesn't reflect the market rate at all (and we're talking only about urban areas here) even on some aggregated average.

Real estate developers seldom wait for ten years, that's true. However, you may be aware of the concept of a lease? You may even rent an apartment yourself. Maybe it's new, maybe it's not, but living in the Bay Area, I'm sure you're aware of the existence of new apartment buildings. Parking is no different. In general, the developer does not own the building. There are exceptions to that. Calhoun in Seattle (aPodments) is a developer and real estate holding company. But generally you're correct. The developer as a rule sells the building, including the parking, to a holding company who then manages the property, charges rents for apartments, leases out parking spots, or just leases out or sells the entire garage to a separate entity who operates it.

Getting back to that true cost thing. There's no such thing as "pricing up." A developer is going to sell something they develop for the most they can get for it. Period. Sometimes that means they get less than the "true price"; most of the time they get more. They wouldn't be in business for long otherwise.

Let's pretend it takes $30k to build. That's a 10% ROI, not shabby. Of course, there's taxes. Take Moda Apartments, a new complex in Belltown in Seattle. A 450 square foot studio is $1,400/mo. That's about the same ~10% ROI, again ignoring taxes and maintenance, common areas, utilities, insurance and what not. That's also assuming $400/sq foot which is below the average for Belltown. Very similar to the garage. What really makes real estate worthwhile isn't some insane ROI and get rich quick schemes. It's leverage.
Exactly!
 
Old 07-22-2014, 11:30 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 29 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,038 posts, read 102,742,261 times
Reputation: 33084
Quote:
Originally Posted by hurricaneMan1992 View Post
Here's a thought experiment to think about the cost of parking in a major city. Imagine if you shut down all mass transit into New York, New York, and then everybody had to drive and park in the city (road capacity must be considered hand-in-hand with parking, after all). You now have to expand the roads and build dozens of large parking garages to accommodate these people. You have to demolish existing businesses and residences, sidewalks, and parks to find the space for this endeavour. Oh, and in the case of NYC you'd better be prepared to build a couple new GW bridges. Either that, or businesses and residents will simply leave and/or not go into the city and spend money. The cost of "lost opportunity" must be considered here. And if your human dignity is still in tact after all this, you still have to pay for subsidized cab or van rides for people who simply physically cannot drive and still need to get to doctor appointments. Either way, you would be costing the City LOTS of money, not to mention prestige...(not to mention that car-dependent downtowns in the US are some of the most boring places in the world...)

By the time you account for the space, lost business opportunity, tax revenue, and prestige lost in the alternative car-dependent scenario, perhaps having a subsidized transit system makes good business sense in an urban environment. Think of it as a loss leader, if you will. A parking spot can only draw in as many people as fit in the car. A solid mass transit station brings in thousands with the physical foot print of a couple of parking spots. For a more limited, less successful system, you're still talking hundreds of riders, and that's still a lot of parking spots, and it's still advantageous. (Of course, if you struggle to get even a hundred of riders, you probably don't need a mass transit system). The point is, if you build a car-dependent city or a transit-dependent one, either way it's going to cost a lot of money.
I am not trying to make an argument for getting rid of mass transit. In fact, I said upthread I favor mass transit for several reasons. However, one of the reasons is NOT that it is more cost effective. Oh, it might be more cost-effective for the individual who doesn't have to buy a car, but not for the taxpayers, which is who "the city" is.
 
Old 07-22-2014, 01:25 PM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,866,195 times
Reputation: 1439
Quote:
Originally Posted by A2DAC1985 View Post
Let me be clear here: I am not a math whiz and I screwed up my numbers. You are right in calling me out on this post. I even screwed up the bus fares. It's $2.25 per ride.





But the number of 19,000(trips per day)*$2.25(fare, corrected)=$42,750(money made daily, corrected) is not right at all. That number assumes only one person rides one bus, every trip, for the entire day.

There are approximately 1,000,000 bus rides a day. If every ride is $2.25, that would be $2,250,000 a day. But only 55% of the operation cost is recovered. So it's actually $1,237,500 a day in revenue is generated via bus.

There are 1,865 buses total for the CTA and if 1,000,000 rides are taken on them every day, that means each bus carries an average of 536 people a day.

536 people per day paying $2.25 a ride would be $1,206 per bus, but factoring in a 55% farebox recovery rate, that means each bus brings in $663 a day in fares.

536 people driving 100 miles a day at 25 mpg using 4 gallons in gas with $3.61 in taxes = $1,935 day in taxes.



Once again, I screwed up the numbers. I couldn't even get the fare correct.

But I would like to point out that, "to really think everyone who boards a bus somehow magically boards every bus in operation for the entirety of every route." has really no bearing on this at all. It doesn't make a difference, a fare is paid whether the person rides the whole length of the route, or half, or one stop.

It's like buying a gallon gas. You already paid the tax for that gallon. Whether or not you use the whole gallon on one trip is irrelevant.

What matters is (given a 55% farebox recovery rate):

You could take 25, one mile trips in a car at 25 MPG and pay less than $1 in taxes for 25 miles of road use.
OR
You could take 25, one mile trips and pay $31 in fares on the bus.

536 people could take 25, one mile trips in a car at 25 MPG and pay $12,100 in taxes for 25 miles of road use.
OR
536 people could take 25, one mile trips and pay $16,616 in fares on the bus.
OR
536 people could take 50, one half mile trips and pay $33,232 in fares on the bus.
OR
536 people could take 100, one quarter mile trips and pay $66,464 in fares on the bus.





If anyone else has problems with my numbers or methodology, feel free to point it out.

If I screwed up some numbers, feel free to show me where I did. Give me the correct numbers, that's cool too.

I will gladly change any factual/mathematical errors I have made.

Feel free to give any equations you worked out yourself.
The CTA gets an large part of it's funding via reduced fares. In fact an recent reduction in the reduced fair program is currently causing the CTA budget havoc.

http://www.dot.il.gov/neilpt/cta%20finance%20wg.pdf

The average fare per trip is $1.08 when you take that into account. In addition there are passes that allow for an lower fare for frequent users.
 
Old 07-22-2014, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,726,427 times
Reputation: 26676
Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
Except maybe without parking the developer wouldn't sell any "units".
In addition, who says the allocation is as you claim? What if it is?
The price is what the market will bear regardless of how you are attempting to allocate developer's costs. Following your logic why wouldn't a more appropriate interpretation be more affordable housing for those that did not need a parking space?

I do not see any real complaint here about parking spaces particularly since there is no empirical evidence to support the claim - and even if there were the developer is free to allocate costs as it sees fit with the only constraint being market forces and availability of alternatives.

If the argument is that "some residents are having to pay for things those residents don't need", consider the following:

Should the cost of elevators be borne solely by upper story residents?
Should the cost of stairwells be borne solely by upper story residents with higher and higher floors paying ever increasing prices?
Should first floor residents pay more for an enclosed patio?
Should upper floor residents pay higher utility bills? (e.g., electricity to run the elevator, lights for stairwells, pumps for water, etc.)

There are bigger and more disconcerting legal problems with "units" - mostly because "units" are likely to be condominiums.
But in most locales, developers aren't allowed to build as much parking as they feel like. They are subject to parking minimums. The actual amount of parking needed is dictated by the city not empirical evidence. There are some projects that would be well served not to have parking, and others that need more parking. But that is actually pretty variable.

We don't have parking minimums downtown (I think), and there are buildings with parking and buildings without. The market decides. I haven't seen an appreciable difference in time on the market or selling price in the buildings at all. One building I can think of is actually more expensive than the one up the street that has deeded parking. It didn't have any problems selling out. And for people who wanted parking, they worked out a special deal with a nearby garage. This part of town basically has no overnight street parking, so there was no "street space" for anyone to go to anyway.

My issue isn't with developers choosing how to price their units and provide parking as they see fit, but the mandate via zoning rules on how much or how little parking should be provided for a building. The "market" should sort it out with actual evidence, it shouldn't be dictated by the arbitrary guesses and mandates in the zoning.
 
Old 07-22-2014, 02:59 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
33,937 posts, read 42,228,188 times
Reputation: 43380
Parking requirements are usually developed taking the projected use of a space into consideration. Sometimes square footage is used as a marker, sometimes peak customer numbers.

A retail store would be subject to the first, a restaurant to the second.

Residential parking is sometimes determined by the number of bedrooms a unit has and sometimes a flat number per unit.

We used 1 1/2 spaces per unit for years even when real life was showing that it should be higher. Eventually we changed it to 2.

As a note, developers/builders absolutely hate providing parking. They try to avoid building it no matter the situation and go to unimaginable lengths to get out of the requirements. Which is why, although you don't like it Jade, zoning sets up minimums.
 
Old 07-22-2014, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,726,427 times
Reputation: 26676
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
While I was doing a little research about this topic (cost of "free" parking), I came across a stat that in busy areas with limited parking, about 30% of the traffic is people circling and looking for parking. Of course, I'll never find that link again in a million years, but I did read it, just today! That is certainly a good argument for a need for more parking of any sort.

When all is said and done, I still think that residences should be required to provide at least ONE off-street parking place.
Actually it is a little bit different. I have the book this stat came from. (It is like 900 pages, I won't be reading it. Hehehe.) It references a long terms study from if I recall correctly, tracking parking meter rates and availability in central business districts from like 1940 to 1980 or something. If you have a chance, you should definitely check out a talk by the author. It was so interesting, and we all know parking is a completely dry topic.

Anyway, you can look at SFPark as a good example.
http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancis...nt?oid=2319269
When parking prices reflect demand, everybody wins - Greater Greater Washington

Parking availability is a function of both the volume of parking and the price of parking. When parking is too cheap, people don't move their cars, and then prospective patrons can't find parking.

I am going to sum up the results of San Francisco's variable pricing experiment. It lasted about 2 years.
1. the average price at the meter decreased
2. parking turnover increased
3. the time to find a spot decreased by 50%

There are similar results found in all sorts of cities that have experimented with variable parking pricing models.

We have set up an expectation in our society that parking should be free, easy, and plentiful. And people take it for granted.

And I will tell you about what I used to do when I first moved into my apartment. I have a secure, dedicated spot. But when I moved in I had just gotten a new car, and my parking spot was really small. So I didn't really want to have to deal with concentrating really hard to park perfectly so I could get out and my neighbor could get in. So I started parking on the street. We only have monthly street sweeping, and there is no residential permit program. So I thought it was brilliant. I left my spot empty for most of that first year. And used it for when friends came to visit, so they didn't have to hunt down parking in my busy neighborhood. For me, there was no "risk" in using the street space, even though I had a private spot. Well as you can imagine, if I needed to pay for that street spot, well I would have sucked it up and used my garage spot.

Now I am not saying we should make driving impossible, but we do need to make alternatives passable. I've mentioned this many times before. I rarely drive to my city's downtown. I used to more, when it was less popular, and parking was really easy. Now it is more popular and busier, so I just hop on my bike or take the bus. Because that saves me time vs driving and looking for parking. There is no reason it can't work that way for more of us, more often: the alternative to driving is efficient and easy. Just like all that free parking at the strip mall.

My neighborhood "main street" has limited street parking. Some stores have a handful of spots in a private lot, but parking for the neighborhood is provided by a central lot and on the street. As a result people park once and walk the rest. Additionally, the banks, post office, and the grocery store open up their lots after hours to handle the bar/restaurant/evening traffic. This works well because we don't lose valuable commercial space to parking that is only used half the time, and the density keeps the streets busy enough to walk around all day and late into the evening with plenty of foot traffic. The main street wouldn't work if it had more parking lots and less stores/shops/restaurants/services.

We can't expect to have safe/walkable neighborhoods when most of the streetspace is covered with a dead zone like parking, that isn't used very much. We need to be a lot smarter about land use and sharing spaces.
 
Old 07-22-2014, 03:17 PM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,866,195 times
Reputation: 1439
Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
Parking requirements are usually developed taking the projected use of a space into consideration. Sometimes square footage is used as a marker, sometimes peak customer numbers.

A retail store would be subject to the first, a restaurant to the second.

Residential parking is sometimes determined by the number of bedrooms a unit has and sometimes a flat number per unit.

We used 1 1/2 spaces per unit for years even when real life was showing that it should be higher. Eventually we changed it to 2.

As a note, developers/builders absolutely hate providing parking. They try to avoid building it no matter the situation and go to unimaginable lengths to get out of the requirements. Which is why, although you don't like it Jade, zoning sets up minimums.
Yeap, and they hate the minimums because it increases cost( and risk) to the developer. The developer only cares that he can sell it. He does not care how unfit or limited the building without the parking is. So long as it sells no problem. The community around said building without parking suffers the consequences of lack of off the street parking and increases in illegal parking. Now if you are an single office worker doing 9-5 when transit is most available then not an problem.

It is an problem when you truly need the car. Factory workers for instance often work unscheduled overtime and being dependent on transit is not viable esp. when you need to be at work at 6 a.m.. Parents and other care givers have time issues and so even if public transit is available it might not be attractive due to time constraints. Construction workers go from site to site and being dependent on transit is very limiting.
 
Old 07-22-2014, 03:22 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,089 posts, read 16,121,723 times
Reputation: 12673
Quote:
Originally Posted by A2DAC1985 View Post
Let me be clear here: I am not a math whiz and I screwed up my numbers. You are right in calling me out on this post. I even screwed up the bus fares. It's $2.25 per ride.


What matters is (given a 55% farebox recovery rate):
Precisely.

It just makes things very easy, although not quite as simple as saying every time you board a bus it costs the tax payer $1.84 since there are bus passes which collect lower fares, assuming people are logical and only buy the pass if it will be less expensive than paying the fare.

Quote:
You could take 25, one mile trips in a car at 25 MPG and pay less than $1 in taxes for 25 miles of road use.
OR
You could take 25, one mile trips and pay $31 in fares on the bus.
What does that have to do with anything?

What does 25 one-mile trips in a car cost the taxpayer in road costs?
I mean, using the simplified example it costs the taxpayer $1.84*25, or $46 for 25 on-mile trips by bus.

There other relevant thing is the total cost. If you take AAA averages (new car every 5 years, 15,000 miles a year) it costs $.46/mile to drive. But what's that really tell you? If you're only driving one mile to parking a $20/day garage for work, you probably aren't doing 15,000 miles. Plus the parking is $20/day. But those are costs covered by the user. The total cost of transit ($4.09/boarding) is much lower than the total cost of driving in that scenario.

Quote:
536 people could take 25, one mile trips in a car at 25 MPG and pay $12,100 in taxes for 25 miles of road use.
OR
536 people could take 25, one mile trips and pay $16,616 in fares on the bus.
OR
536 people could take 50, one half mile trips and pay $33,232 in fares on the bus.
OR
536 people could take 100, one quarter mile trips and pay $66,464 in fares on the bus.
Where in the heck do you come up with your numbers? It's simple 536 times 2.25. It's $1,206 in fares and $986 in taxpayer funding. That's using the simplified method described above that ignores bus passes meaning the revenue and cost are lower. The key is 55% farebox recovery and cost per boarding, which many transit agencies do report. And of course, buses drive on roads no magic clouds as well but ignore that.

How does that compare to road costs?

http://www.vtpi.org/tca/tca0506.pdf

Cost per mile for road maintenance can be found in section 5.6.4. It's from 2007, around 5 cents per mile for automobile traffic. Adjusting for inflation, that's around 6 cents a mile rounding up. Cost to the taxpayer per mile is 6 cents per mile, some of which is covered by gas taxes, vehicle registration. Cost to the taxpayer per boarding of a bus is $1.84. Unless the average passenger trip by bus in Chicago is 31 miles, it's pretty clear that the bus receives more taxpayer subsidy than the road. Not to mention that the bus drives on roads.
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