5 U.S. cities with the worst parking

| April 1, 2014

Finding parking, paying for it, avoiding tickets, relocating your car, learning it’s been stolen—there’s a long list of headaches caused by parking. But if you focus on its costs alone, in which cities can you expect to pay the most for parking?

Honolulu skyline

From Matt Keiffer. With more parks than parking, the worst place in America to stash your car is…

A lot of factors influence how that question is answered. For instance, the day rate for parking might be cheap, but there may not be enough supply so you end up circling around and around looking for a spot, which drives up your fuel costs. Or, say, the day rate is still low (great for tourists), but the average monthly fee is high (not so great for residents). Or maybe both rates are reasonable, but the number of car thefts for the area concerns you and you’d rather pay higher fees than get your wheels jacked.

Last week NerdWallet took a look at these variables and came up with a list of cities where parking comes at a premium. Prioritizing daily parking rate over all others—because, let’s face it, how much you pay for parking each day probably isn’t the determining factor in your choice of cities—here are the worst offenders.

1. Honolulu, HI

All those sandy beaches may make for a picture-perfect life, but they also mean space restrictions or limited parking supply, which may be why it costs $42 per day to park in Hawaii’s capital. On the plus side, car theft per capita is -18.66% below the national average there. Also on the plus side, it’s Honolulu.

2. Chicago, IL

Ever since the city privatized parking in 2009, there’s been a dramatic increase in parking fees: $35 per day. Fortunately, the Windy City has good public transit, and soon bus and elevated railway—or the El, as Chicagoans call it—riders will be able to pay by phone.

3. Boston, MA, and New York, NY

It costs $33.50 per day to park in Boston, which is just $1.50 more than what the Empire State charges, but New York drivers pay $142.50 more in monthly, unreserved parking. On the other hand, the car-theft rate per capita in New York is -75.47% lower than the national average; in Boston, it’s -37.33% lower.

In other words, both cities are fairly tied in this regard, and any preference for one over the other is more likely tied to a driver’s loyalty to the Red Sox or Yankees than to how much he or she will pay for parking.

4. San Francisco, CA

Repping for the West Coast, San Francisco enters the list with a daily parking rate of $29. Lest visitors be attracted to parking costs across the Bay, which are cheaper at almost half the price ($15.50 per day in Oakland), motorists would be wise to note that the car-theft rate in San Francisco is -5.53% lower than the national average, while in Oakland, the rate is 124.59% higher than the national average.

5. Seattle, WA

The Emerald City likes its parking green at $27 per day, and its car thieves like their chances: There’s a 10.3% higher possibility per capita nationwide that a car in Seattle will be stolen. On the bright side, motorists there can access e-Park, a web- and mobile-site created by the local government that helps drivers find parking in real time, as well as a list of garages and lots.

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Category: Municipal, Parking

About the Author ()

Cielo Lutino is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn, NY. She has written for such publications as the L Magazine and Portland Monthly, and her literary nonfiction has appeared in journals such as the Los Angeles Review and Cold Mountain Review.

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