Affordable housing, low utility costs, the Lincoln sites — cheap parking. It might not be in the five-year economic development plan or tourism brochures, but a just-released national survey ranks parking costs in Springfield among the lowest of more than 130 communities in the United States and Canada at an average of $1 for the first hour and $6.75 for the day.
Affordable housing, low utility costs, the Lincoln sites — cheap parking.
It might not be in the five-year economic development plan or tourism brochures, but a just-released national survey ranks parking costs in Springfield among the lowest of more than 130 communities in the United States and Canada at an average of $1 for the first hour and $6.75 for the day.
Nationally, the averages are $4.46 and $12.79, respectively.
“We are one of the purest forms of supply and demand,” said Martin Stein, president of the National Parking Association, the Washington D.C.-based industry group that compiled the survey of nearly 400 parking companies in North America.
“It’s really the city and those in it that create the demand, whether it’s an office market, cultural, theater or shopping, for people to come into the city,” Stein added.
Cities were selected for the survey based on local member companies, and Springfield was the only Illinois city on the list outside of Chicago. Chicago rates, an average of $12.25 for the first hour and $22.75 for the day, are among the nation’s highest.
Parking, make that the public perception of parking, remains one of the most vexing issues for downtown retailers, said Mark Kessler, longtime owner of the Recycled Records music store.
“I hear that people say there’s no parking, meaning people have to park two or three blocks away. If they can’t park in front of the building, they think there’s no parking. There’s two parking ramps within a block of our store,” Kessler said, who added that enforcement is key to regular turnover of parking spaces.
“If you want to keep cars moving from the meters, and a lot of people won’t like me for this, you can raise the parking fines,” he said.
The city and Downtown Springfield Inc. have tried a variety of strategies — including conversion of some blocks from parallel to diagonal parking and parking coupons — to promote parking availability.
DSI executive director Victoria Clemons said that while details have yet to be worked out, a parking awareness campaign will be included in this year’s annual holiday promotions.
“It’s a constant issue. When you say, ‘You should have come downtown,’ they say, ‘Oh, I didn’t find any parking.’ It’s a perception,” Clemons said. “We’ve done measurements, and you’d walk farther at the mall than you do to get around the corner (downtown).”
Tim Landis can be reached at (217) 788-1536 or email@example.com.
National Parking Association
--Founded in 1951, based in Washington, D.C.
--Represents 1,200 commercial parking companies in the United States and Canada
“Parking in America”
--How the report was compiled: 399 members companies in 131 communities electronically surveyed local parking costs.
(average, first hour)
--Century City, Calif.; $16
--Brooklyn, N.Y.; $15
--New York; $13
--Chicago, Los Angeles; $12.25
--Battle Creek, Mich.; 25 cents
--Summit, N.J.; 50 cents
--Bellingham, Wash.; 75 cents
--Springfield tied with five other communities at $1
On the Web: