|December 18, 2008 -
The City of Knoxville will raise the daily and monthly rates for its six parking garages in early 2009 – the first rate increases for some of the facilities in nearly a decade.
The rate hikes will be modest.
Monthly rates will increase by $5 at the Locust Street, Market Square, Main Avenue, State Street, and the Coliseum garages. With the exception of the Coliseum, daily parking rates at all city garages will increase to $1 per hour with a daily maximum of $7. At the Coliseum, the daily rate will remain at $5.
The garages will still be free at night for vehicles parked after 6 p.m. and on weekends, with the exception of certain special events. The city will continue to offer free parking during University of Tennessee home football games at the Market Square, State Street and Promenade garages.
All of the facilities, with the exception of the Coliseum garage, are managed by the Public Building Authority.
“We waived football game day parking fees this year at three of the city’s downtown garages to encourage football fans to check out downtown before and after the game,” said Madeleine Weil, the city’s Deputy Director of Policy and Communications. “This helped generate additional foot traffic for stores, restaurants and the farmer’s market – in other words, it was a success.”
The city also has plans to make additional free parking available in the Old City next year, after the Tennessee Department of Transportation has completed its SmartFix 40 Project. After the project is complete in Summer 2009, TDOT will lease the area beneath the James White Parkway to the City for public parking.
The rate hikes are aimed at closing the gap between revenues and expenses in parking garage operations.
In general, the city’s expenses for the garages – in operating costs and debt service – are greater than the revenue the facilities generate. This fiscal year, monthly and daily parking fees are expected to generate about $2.04 million, while expenses and debt service are anticipated to total a little over $2.2 million.
Event parking at the Civic Auditorium and Coliseum garages also generates revenue but those funds go to support the auditorium and coliseum operations.
The city would also like to increase revenues to generate funds to develop additional parking resources and stay ahead of downtown growth. Right now it is exploring several options for increasing downtown parking resources including adding additional decks to the State Street Garage.
“While there are about 3,600 parking spaces available on a daily basis at the city’s six parking garages, it’s not surprising anymore to have to drive to the top level before finding an empty space. Downtown is continuing to grow, and we need available parking to stay ahead of the pace,” Weil said.