App takes the pain out of paying high prices at NY parking garages

| August 23, 2013

Real estate in New York is eye-poppingly expensive. Why, then, should the real estate for New Yorkers’ cars be any different? According to a 2011 study by Colliers International, parking garages in Midtown Manhattan charge $562 a month on average, the highest rates in the country. Downtown Manhattan comes in second at $533, with Boston at $405 a distant third. The national average is $164.80.

But parking spaces in a Brooklyn garage take the cake with $80,000 a spot. “In Brooklyn, that seems normal given the other crazy prices here,” says Leah, a resident in the area. A parking garage between Fifth and Sixth Avenues can set you back $28.5 million.

New York parking garage

A New York parking garage. Image by Jeffrey Zeldman.

Parking apps help New Yorkers find the best deals

Although New York has 1,795 parking facilities, each lot usually has about 170 spaces, making it tough for commuters to find a space at peak times in high demand areas. Parking apps like BestParking are helping New Yorkers use information to save time and money.

BestParking’s interface has a map with information on rates charged by garages in the city, depending on the duration you want to park the car. It offers discount coupons from garages, and if you redeem them, it gets a cut from the garage.

“The very quirks that make New York’s monthly parking market such a puzzle can produce excellent deals,” says BestParking founder Ben Sann. For instance, a Fiat which is small enough to fit under an alcove which is otherwise of no use to a garage can be accommodated in a $100 space. Areas with few parking garages are naturally costlier than areas with many parking options.

Parking rate signs are tough to read

Custom garage parking sign

Although New York city rules state that garages must display rates on signs at their entrances, they can be misleading. It can be tough to read the fine print while driving.

City law specifies sign colors (black on white for night rates), size (lower case letters should be at least two inches high) and line width for the drivers’ convenience. However, this results in garages updating rates displayed less frequently. Most choose to keep higher rates posted instead of changing it according to market rates or advertising deals.

Taking the human element out of parking could make life easier for New York car owners. Automated parking is one such option, but another option is biking. That way, you can be fitter, greener, and kinder to your pocket.

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Category: Parking

About the Author ()

A graduate in English Literature from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, India, Nupur also has an MBA from the Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University. Nupur is currently trying to be as savvy a cook as she is with a book. She likes watching plays and sunsets. Nupur first lived in Kolkata and then for a decade in Delhi, still her favorite city.

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