Parking Garage Rates Are Out Of Control

Parking rates in downtown Boston are going up. From the Boston Globe:

At least seven garages are charging for parking in 20-minute rather than 30-minute increments, and many of them are collecting their all-day rates for periods of less than two hours.

Getting in and out of a downtown garage in 20 minutes is possible — but just barely. A Globe reporter managed a 20-minute turnaround at 75 State St. only by racing from the garage to gulp down a drink at a nearby coffee shop and then racing back.

David Rich of Salem, heading down to the 75 State Street Garage in the elevator, said he has made it in and out of the garage in less than 20 minutes, but only if he’s dropping something off in the building.

“If it’s a normal consumer trying to go to Faneuil Hall or something, I wouldn’t think it’s possible,” Rich said. “I’m used to paying $33. It’s ridiculous, but I don’t think it’s unusual for the city.”

Big city parking rates are insane. Only New York beats Boston, with a daily average of $40 for midtown parking. Who are you people?—MEGHANN MARCO

Garages make it a faster race back to the car [Boston Globe]
(Photo: TunnelSlats)


Edit Your Comment

  1. capnfive says:

    well, if they charged less you would NEVER be able to find a spot. Is that a better alternative?

  2. Mark 2000 says:

    Oh, boo hoo hoo. I get to drive around and destroy the planet with my selfish one person vehicle and now I have to pay! Boo hoo hoo!

    Use public transportation.

  3. Falconfire says:

    Thats why I dont drive in NYC. In a city with a mass transit system as good as NY, only if your transporting a lot of items should you be using your car.

    To put it in perspective though, in Philly where I drive in and park when visiting my friend place, we only paid 20 bucks for overnight.

  4. Coder4Life says:

    Oh wow, that is rediculous. I am paying $8/day and I thought that was crazy in Iowa. But I am sure those people make alot more money in NY. But still VERY VERY REDICULOUS..

  5. maebyfunke says:

    Well- I am one of these jerks that has to pay $33 for parking in Boston. I take the subway every day to work, but sometimes I have to have my car. If I have a doctor’s appt. right after work in another city that’s not T accessable, need to bring in supplies from home to work, that sort of thing. I feel like I am getting ripped off, but what can you do? It feels like it’s a fact of life in Boston that you are going to have to pay a fortune to park.

  6. 44 in a Row says:

    It all depends on when you’re driving, too. Rates in NYC vary wildly depending on the time of day, and you can get pretty big rate jumps even at garages across the street from one another.

    Case in point: I drive to work on the weekends, because train service is less frequent and there are no express trains, so it would take me an hour and a half by train as opposed to 45 minutes by car. There are two garages on the block where my office is. One has a weekend special, $16 for up to 8 hours; the other has no special, and charges $39 for anything more than 2 hours.

  7. rocketslide says:

    Why would you drive in Boston? Boston actually has a pretty decent commuter rail. Why not use it?

  8. mopar_man says:

    Oh wow, that is rediculous. I am paying $8/day and I thought that was crazy in Iowa. But I am sure those people make alot more money in NY. But still VERY VERY REDICULOUS..

    That’s about the going rate where I’m from. Whenever I go to any big cities that charge over $20 for a day, I think it’s just insane. But I have to admit, it’s a good way to cut down the traffic and make people use public transportation.

  9. swalve says:

    The marketplace at work. There are a finite number of parking spots. The lot owners are going to charge the highest price they can get and still fill up the garage. It sucks (it’s about $30 here in Chicago for the “80 minute – 12 hour” rate), but that’s the breaks. There are people that HAVE to pay it as a cost of doing business (like service people), and the rest of the people think it’s worth $30 to not have to deal with the indignities of public transportation.

    Here’s my for example: it takes me about 45 minutes to drive to downtown Chicago. Or, I can drive 20 minutes to the commuter rail station, hope there’s parking for which I pay $3. Then get on the $7 train and ride for an hour only to have to walk 15 minutes to my office. Or I can drive the 40 minutes to one of the two nearest subway stops, pay $3 for parking and then take the $2 train for another 45 minutes into the city where a similar walk awaits. I don’t mind the walk, but on hot days I cannot show up at my appointments all sweatty and gross. Now I only have to go into the city once or twice a month. I’m sure if it was a daily thing I’d move closer. (Or course, it’s probably STILL cheaper to pay parking rather than the inflated rent near the city)

  10. madktdisease says:

    Whatever gets people off the highways. It’s very rare that a person in this area couldn’t be serviced by commuter rail. I only have sympathy for those who work during the midnight-5AM when the trains don’t run, but usually the rates are far lower anyway. I take the commuter rail as much as possible, even though I live in an area where the only morning train option gets me into town 2 hours before I have to be at work.

  11. bearymore says:

    I only hope that the parking lot attendants’ hourly pay is at least as much as the hourly rate for parking…

  12. Boston: take the T and quit your whining.

  13. any such name says:

    $30/day?? um, no. maybe if you work near the sears tower..

    however, i’m still pissed that the garage near my office has jumped from $12 to $15 for the day in the past two years.
    luckily the garage 3 blocks away is still $12.

  14. RulesLawyer says:

    Is it still cheaper in Boston to pay for over-time-limit parking tickets than to pay for parking? It was, back in the early 90’s around Fenway Park.

  15. etinterrapax says:

    I think it’s still cost-comparable to pay the ticket, but when we lived in the city, it was always a net loss because we parked for free as residents…if we could find a space. My husband used to use metered parking overnight, which is free from 6 PM to 8 AM, but the meter maids are right there at 8, ticketing everyone. Hating on meter maids is practically compulsory there. Even people who thought throwing hot coffee on one was cruel wouldn’t hesitate to splash them with gutter water if the opportunity presented itself.

    Personally, we were of the “who needs a car” camp, but when my husband got a job with a lot of travel, it was a necessity. If we’d kept one just for tooling around the city, we’d have had no right to complain. Boston’s public transit is very good, and still quite cheap.

  16. zolielo says:

    Worse I have ever seen is in government buildings (often outsourced). The most was at a mid Los Angeles office where parking was $1.75 per 15 minute.

    I assume it is the outsourced firm fleecing America or the agency stepping inline with other agencies (normalizing high).

  17. mac-phisto says:

    doesn’t anybody know how to jockey anymore? i just did a boston weekend last month & only paid $8 to park all weekend long (friday morning – sunday evening). guess you just have to know where to park. nyc is the same. of course, you can’t be too picky about which street your leaving the benz on. luckily, the camry fits in wherever i go.

  18. Chairman-Meow says:

    Since I used to park at 75 State often, maybe I can give you a hint:

    Most of those spaces are paid for by corporations so they not only are they paid alarming sums of money so that chancey upperfart can have his BMW handy but can scalp the one-timer who wants to take aunt sofie to Faneuil Hall.

    We had a single spot reserved for us techs who had to go there from corporate and fix broken PCs.

    If I planned to be there all day, i’d take the commuter rail instead of driving since it is more relaxing on the train then fighting the legendary traffic on the Southeast Expressway.

    Oh, BTW the pic is none other than Samuel Adams standing in front of Faneuil Hall. Popular meeting spot.

  19. droppedD says:

    Whine whine whine. Get over it.

    The parts of Boston where parking is expensive also have the most commuter rail and T stations. Even if you live in a suburb away from a train station, just park at Alewife or some other T station in the ‘burbs with free or cheap parking, and take the T. It’s the free market at work – if everyone avoided driving into Boston except where they really really needed a car (buying furniture or whatever) parking prices would take a nosedive.

    Everyone in Boston drives like it’s a deathsport, anyways, and the nonsensical one-way curvy streets make it hell on earth. You can probably halve your blood pressure by just taking the T. Trust me – I moved to the suburbs of Boston from New York and own a car, but refuse to drive into Boston proper except under duress. My girlfriend works right in downtown Boston and doesn’t even have a driver’s license, so anyone acting like Boston public transportation is too much of a hassle to do is full of crap.

    The MBTA may not be as good as the NY MTA, but it still beats sitting in a Fenway traffic jam.

  20. 44 in a Row says:

    Part of the problem in New York is that it isn’t just the meters you have to worry about. The rules are not only complicated, but very time-of-day dependent; a spot that’s metered parking at 5pm might become commercial-only at 9pm, which means that by parking there you’re not only at risk for the over-limit ticket, but you can get towed for being parked illegally. The last time I parked on the street in NYC by my office, I wound up getting hit for nearly $200 in tickets because of a poorly-worded sign. Since then, I’d rather play it safe in a garage any day.

  21. TinaT says:

    In London, parking tickets are cheaper than legal parking. But I’d never have the balls to drive in London, so I won’t get to take advantage of that tidbit.

  22. droppedD says:

    case in point: “David Rich,” the guy they quote in this article, lives in Salem and is driving to State Street. He could just take the commuter rail from Salem to N Station, and then take the orange line two stops to state street or just walk less than a mile from N Station and get a little excercise.

    It’s a half hour train ride from Salem to N Station; with the amount of traffic on 93 south to drive it on a weekeday anywhere near rush hour, it’s almost certainly faster to take the train.

    Cheaper parking sounds like a good idea, environment aside, but then when you think about the current traffic levels in narrow streets originally built for horse traffic by demented Pilgrims, you realize more cars in Boston is a really, really bad idea. Seriously.

  23. RandomHookup says:

    One flaw to the ‘take the Commuter Rail’ plan is that most of the stations have very limited parking and it’s gone by the 1st train or so.

    And if you have to get to one of the burbs during the day, forget it.

    All that said, most of the people driving downtown are doing it for their egos. Hell, my old boss hadn’t been on the T once in 35 years of working in the city.

  24. dohtem says:

    … the indignities of public transportation.

    @swalve: You make it sound like mingling with lepers.

  25. etinterrapax says:

    @RandomHookup: Re: ego drivers, yeah. I don’t remember the particular incident, but shortly after my husband started the job that required the car, we took the T somewhere together and he mentioned it to his boss on Monday. The boss referred to it as “mingling with the great unwashed,” and says he never, ever takes the train. Hmph. I loved the T. I still miss it. Aside from the convenience, it was never dull. You’d think that a cheapass like this guy would appreciate that aspect of it, at least. Parking for a day in Boston is roughly cost-equivalent to a month’s subway pass.

  26. larabair says:

    Parking at the New England Aquarium’s Harbor Garage is $30.00 for non-members, $15.00 for members (I believe 7 hours or less. It ended up costing less for the four of us to join as members and get validated parking than to pay the full parking rate and pay for four tickets!

  27. RandomHookup says:

    @etinterrapax :

    Unfortunately, with the 2007 rate hikes, it’s about 1/2 a month’s subway pass (but you get a bus pass for Free!)

  28. AdamJacobMuller says:

    I pay around 25$/day on weekdays and 18$/day for weekends to park near my building in the financial district in NYC. I park here on an irregular basis, so I do not have a monthly pass (at most 6 times/month or so). Monthly parking *STARTS* at almost 600/month. Rises to much more if you want a first-floor reserved or main floor reserved spot.
    Then again, i was smart. I checked around for prices at various garages. There are many many garages within walking distance of where I work, and this is not the cheapest. But it is the best combination of price / distance and spot availability.
    Shopping around like this, saves me a lot of money. One garage nearby charges almost double the above rates.

  29. Lars says:

    To all the people who chime in with ride the T and quit your whining I offer the following:

    1. The spokes of the T do not connect at all. Proposals have been floated around since Dukakis was running the ship and they haven’t gone anywhere. I have a friend who works for the state and goes to community meetings every year about linking up the various lines of the T so commutes across these lines would be possible. For people who have children, can’t afford to live in central locations such as Backbay, or commute into the city for whatever reason, driving is sometimes a necessity, and the parking rates in Boston are quite high.

    2. T buses are notoriously unreliable. The slightest bit of weather is able to throw the schedule is of many buses out of wack, which given that we live in a city with wildly unpredicatble weather this seems unacceptable. For instance, in Watertown, the generator that powers the line for the 71 bus frequencly floods and shuts down in the face of a modest rain storm, which causes massive disruptions. The bus issue seems to be improving with a new committent to providing higher quality service, but we shall see.

    3. The green line is one of the most puzzling and slow subways ever. Why it is a good idea for having a subway train that stops as frequently as a bus is beyond me. But this is what you get with the green line. Not only does it stop frequently, but in the Western parts of the city that has important districts like the Longwood Medical area and such, there are no stations, so you must wait for people to individually pay as they get on the train.

    4. Personally I enjoy a variety of recreational sports in the summer. Boston is many things, but rich in open space and parks it is not. In order to play sports, I have to usually drive into work so that I can get to my destination after work as the T is either not a timely option (see the buses and green line) or not even an option at all as a number of playing fields available for use are in outlying towns.

    Now granted, Boston is a pretty good city, but that doesn’t mean that some things could stand improving. And telling people to sop whining isn’t really a constructive way to deal with transportation issues facing your fellow citizen. Just because everything is fine for you, does not mean it is so for everybody else.

  30. Move to Peoria. Pay $2/day for downtown parking. Bitch about the outrageous price of parking – two whole dollars a day! That’s robbery!

  31. kerry says:

    @etinterrapax: One of the Chicago newspapers recently ran a piece stating that most of the CTA’s top brass never take the bus or train. All CTA employees get free transit passes. There are, thankfully, high-level employees who do, but I hate that the system is run by a bunch of snobs who would hate to rub shoulders with the common folk. When I lived in Boston for 3 months my car spent the entire time in my apartment building’s underground parking. There was about an inch of dust on it when I moved. People bitch about Chicago drivers, Boston is way worse. Death sport, indeed.

  32. Brad Ackerman says:

    Like the article says, Boston’s got an EPA-mandated parking cartel. No new spaces, so of course it’ll cost $30+ a day (and $100 for some Red Sox games).

  33. Trai_Dep says:

    I’m just hoping that, bored w/ blowing up TAHF lite-brites and traffic boxes, Boston authorities move on to parking garages. That’d be awesome!

  34. Hoss says:

    Notice from the title of the article that the point of the writer is that garages are raising rates by accelerating the time it takes to get to the maximum daily rate.

  35. nequam says:

    I think the article gets a stronger reaction from those outside Boston than those of us in Boston. This is sad because it means we’re used to cramped streets and high prices. I ride the T to work and on the weekends as well. I find it incredibly convenient and it surprises me that some people would prefer to drive and park and pay. Granted, much of the griping comes from tourists who, even if they ride the T to sightsee, still have to park somewhere when they drive in from far away. That’s fine. But people who live in or near the city must adopt a city attitude. The suburban idea of hopping in your car at will just won’t do. If you work in Boston and drive to work — I don’t like you.

  36. yahonza says:

    Chicago parking near the Sears tower where I work is $17 per day (van Buren and Wacker), or you can pay $30 at 111 s. Wacker. Or you can pay $20 at wells and monroe (plus tip, its valet). Or you can walk a few extra blocks and pay $13 ( a few blocks west of the river on monroe). Or I could cab it both ways for about $30. There are a lot of options, so you just have to figure out what the best trade of time and money is.

    Oh, and public transportation from where I live, Roscoe Village, absolutely blows….it takes me about a half hour door to door during rush hour i drive, or about 20 minutes in a cab. But the cta takes me about an hour, so its not a great option.

  37. Don Roberto says:

    Gee those prices are outrageous. I thought $10 for event parking one block from the stadium was high.

    I go to school at a downtown campus and pay $50 a semester for a space and a 5 block walk. If I want something closer, I pay $3 all day for public parking.

    The highest I’ve seen around here is around the KBR, Chevron, and Exxon buildings where its around $10 for the “early birds” and a bit higher after that.

  38. Her Grace says:

    I gawk every day (Melbourne has incredible public transport, and I don’t own a car here) at the price of parking downtown. A full day will cost you $76au (approximately $60usd).

  39. shoegazer says:

    All Day (24 hr) parking in the West End of London costs £35 – at current rates almost $69. Glad I can walk there.

  40. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    I live in Charlestown, and the prices in Baw-stin are really out of control. A bus fare (no transfers) is a buck fifty (cash fare), and there is one PUBLIC parking garage in downtown, but it is always full.

    I’m thinking about moving to someplace cheaper, like Paris.