While many people don't like the idea of paid parking, there are many ways that it can benefit cities. Everyone who drives needs access to convenient, well-maintained, and always available parking. The parking space in cities is already limited, and free parking does not allow this system to function effectively or efficiently. Parking is expensive to maintain, from on-street parking spaces to single and multi-story lots. As the population continues to increase, cities must integrate paid parking to help both the cities themselves and the community.
Here are some of the ways that more paid parking solutions will benefit cities.
Reduce revenue loss
Considerable amounts of city budget are spent on creating and maintaining both paid and free parking spaces and lots. 90% of parking lots or spaces are asphalt, which is subject to weather damage and wear and tear. Preventative maintenance is required to prevent having to redo the lots entirely. Some of this maintenance includes:
- Cleaning and sweeping away debris
- Re-sealing of the asphalt
- Re-striping and marking the parking spaces
- Filling cracks and potholes
- Overlaying of new asphalt
- Repaving the entire area
It costs approximately $0.19 per square foot to reseal asphalt or $1.60 to resurface it. These costs can add up quickly, and without paid parking, there is a massive loss in revenue.
Additionally, cities with an abundance of free parking often don't have the resources to staff enforcement officers to manually manage the lots or spaces. That means that many people take advantage of these spots, using them for residential parking and leaving their vehicles for days, sometimes weeks, on end. No officers mean no penalties and loss of revenue on parking infractions.
Paid parking means that cities can afford maintenance, adequately staff enforcement officers, and provide them with up-to-date handheld parking enforcement equipment. That means that residents and visitors in the city will have an overall more pleasant parking experience.
Increase parking turnover
Free parking will encourage residents, business owners, and their employees to leave their vehicles in spots that should be reserved for visitors and customers. There is no way to police this, and with no parking available for patrons, businesses will suffer. Visitors may avoid certain areas of town because they know they can never find parking and opt to go elsewhere. Cities want to encourage people to visit, and paid parking can help ensure that they continue to do so. Residents have more options since they can park slightly farther out to access free lots and leave the paid parking spots for visitors.
Paid parking will increase turnover since visitors will typically pay by the hour and leave once they are done with their business, allowing others to use them. Too much free parking will upset the balance in cities.
Paid parking spaces can dramatically benefit cities in even more ways than listed above. Paid lots and spaces allow cities to track usage and use this data to make improvements to current city systems, making them more convenient and practical.