Parking and Oil in the OTown Weekly

Not going to make the full “High Cost of Free Parking” argument here but here’s my comment in response to a recent Orlando Weekly column:

Reading a paper copy of the weekly I found it somewhat amusing that in an issue with the gulf oil spill plastered across the front (subtitled: “why we should give up oil”) I found a (yet another) column complaining about the increase in parking rates at the new arena. I realize it probably wasn’t coordinated, but let’s take a step back and put these two things together. Increasing parking rates will encourage people to carpool, bike, or take public transportation (including SunRail when it finally opens) saving gasoline and reducing our oil dependence and leave the parking spaces (and less congested roadway lanes) for those who really don’t have an option.

I’m simplifying it a bit–the results will have to do with the total parking availability in the area and the pricing of all parking–but basically following Don Shoup’s guidelines leads to the most efficient and environmental outcome short of giving up cars entirely:

Thinning out the cars will also make it easier to get in and out of the area before and after games, even potentially reducing traffic on I-4. Even moving cars to parking garages a short walk away should thin the glut, moreso if, as the city hopes, people linger and “post-game” meaning they won’t all try to leave at exactly the same time. Even if the same number of cars come (unlikely) but there’s less congestion, then there will be less gas burned because cars stuck in traffic have 0 mpg.

Speaking of a short walk: it was about a thousand feet to get from the exit of the old Amway to the end of the parking garages; it’s about the same distance from the new Arena to Orange Avenue; so even “off site” parking may not be any farther than “on-site” parking at the old arena; so not really a “captive-audience” at all.

If a four seater is filled, the parking is $5 a head. That’s less than the surcharges on Ticketmaster or the same as a good beer with tip. Shut up and make some friends. Shouldn’t you have a DD anyway?

The city’s not helping anyone (except a few lucky folks who lottery into the available spaces) by lowering prices below the going rate downtown. Note on the current Amway website it says parking is “sold out” for Magic Games; what good is cheap parking if you can’t get it? Finally the city’s garage will now have to compete with all the other area parking garages so if they really charge too much they’ll lose money because people will vacate and park elsewhere.