Monday, March 14, 2011

If you build too much parking you'll go broke

Crain's reports that Bronx Parking Development Company is about to default on their bonds used to build 9,000 structured parking spaces at the new Yankee Stadium. Perhaps if more people go broke by building parking local regulations will get changed to reflect the possibility of too much parking. The Yankee Stadium spaces had lots of competition, so people were unwilling to pay the high rates required to service the bonds. Default has been expected for a long time. From the story:
It's clear that not all the garages are needed. In August, Bronx Parking admitted that the facilities, which contain 9,000 parking spaces, were never more than 60% full on game days. As a result, it said, revenues were insufficient to service the more than $237 million in tax-exempt bonds issued to fund its project, which involved building three new garages and refurbishing several existing ones.
The garages have more competition than any party involved anticipated—including the city's Industrial Development Agency, which issued the bonds in 2007.
Last year, Bronx Parking officials complained that an estimated 800 cars a game were parking at the nearby Gateway Shopping Center. And for good reason: Spaces at the center cost about $4 an hour, compared with $23 a game for a self-park space in the stadium garages (or $35 for valet service). This year, rates will increase to $35 a game ($45 for valet), according to the company's 2011 operating budget.
Bronx Parking also blamed its shortfall on Metro-North and its new train station at Yankee Stadium, which the company said is reducing the number of cars—the very purpose for building the station (with public money).
According to Metro-North data, an average of 3,900 attendees use the train to get to weekend games, and 3,200 take the train to games during the week.
Meanwhile, residents have groused that despite the garages, street parking spots are consumed by fans on game days.

The economics of parking in game days suggest that these garages are never likely to succeed. Bronx development might as well blame the D train while they're pointing fingers. They did forget to blame the bike parking nearby. Considering that Bronx Gateway always has plenty of spaces available--the center can always start validating shopper's parking if they think the spaces are being unfairly used--and that street spaces are $.75 an hour only people with very high values of time or large expense accounts will use the new garages. Perhaps demand is inelastic for those who do park in the new garages. Otherwise I suspect a $12 increase in rates will push additional cars to the streets, surrounding garages and transit.

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