$30,000 + for a parking space - Eye popping rule of thumb

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Over the past week, I’ve had numerous conversations where this “rule-of-thumb” kept popping up:

1 newly constructed parking space = $30,000 or more

While on most days I work from a home office, I am a regular user of the park-and-ride near my house as I venture into downtown Seattle for the occasional meeting. More than once have I lamented the lack of parking as I circled the lot like a vulture just so I could ride a bus. At a basic level, the concept of “park-and-ride” seems totally logical — the best of both suburbia and city life. With each circle of the overflowing lot and each spiral up the parking garage, I feel pangs of annoyance at the lack of a home for my single-occupant vehicle.

But,  as someone that works on energy infrastructure and financial models, this number, $30,000 / parking spot is pretty staggering.  As Alan Durning from the Sightline Institute puts it:

“Our car storage spaces are worth more than our cars.”

I’m left with more questions:

  • Is this really the best use of our public funds?
  • This is just parking, what about the roads?

Others have written eloquently on this topic before me (list of links below.)