Page One

Face facts about parking garage

Charlie Smith Berkeley
Wednesday March 27, 2002



The costs of construction, maintenance and operation are often prohibitive. Earthquake design, upkeep, and payment of toll collectors all work to make costs so high that users are often unwilling to pay any where near the total costs. 

Consider that most garages are only full about 200 days a year, if then. A dual system of human and coin-operated collection may be needed. 

Comparison of costs at existing nearby private garages shows that the cost per parking space may range from $10,000 per space on bare ground, to about $20,000 per space when a structure is built, on up to $50,000 per space for a proposed garage on the Waterfront. 

The best alternative to expensive garages is for all employees to be given a "Transportation Allowance" similar to sick leave, vacation and retirement, and permission to spend it on any system of transportation. But if an automobile is used to get to work, or to class, the full charge should be made for any parking provided by an employer or school administration. Or the going rate parking at other garages in the general area of a proposed garage. 

This takes away the basic subsidy for automobile use and puts it on an even comparison with other forms of transportation. Free parking any place fosters the idea that automobile users deserve to use public space as a matter of course, which is not true. 


Charlie Smith