Week of Jan 12th-18th, 2021 – Will raising taxes or fees on parking help or hurt the economy? 

January 18, 2021 Week of Jan 12th-18th, 2021 – Will raising taxes or fees on parking help or hurt the economy?




This week, Hartford, CT is in the news due to the city’s “considering an expanded fee on private commercial parking lots and structures that mimics some of the important features of a land value tax.”

Two articles address the issues: Jan 18, 2021 – Higher parking lot licensing fees in downtown Hartford, CT sought to spur redevelopment, but opponents just see the cost of parking going up and Jan 18, 2021 – How to Stop Giving Parking Developers A Free Ride.

In the first article, “John Q. Gale, an attorney in his second term on the Hartford council, is proposing to raise the licensing fees private commercial parking lot operators must pay to the city every other year. Right now, the fees range from $500 to $1,000, but under Gale’s proposal, the fees could jump to $29,000 or higher for the biggest lots downtown.”

Gale believes that it will give developers an incentive to find different uses for the land currently occupied by parking lots.

However, many believe that such an increase would come at a wrong time when we are striving to get over the pandemic and revive the economy.

“Alan Lazowski, chief executive of LAZ Parking, which owns, leases or manages 14,000 spaces downtown, said he expects the higher fees would boost parking rates in a city where parking already is perceived as expensive. He’s also troubled about the potential effect on apartment renters downtown that have been growing in number in recent years.”

In the second article, Donald Shoup is mentioned and his The High Cost of Free Parking. Shoup’s premise is that by giving so much land to cars we weaken our cities by taking away opportunities for interactions. However, how did it all change with the pandemic? The car ownership is growing and people need spaces to park.

As JVH wrote in his Jan 5th, 2021, “cars are freedom” and “how can we help?” Still the opponents of personal cars and parking such as The Parking Reform Network’s Tony Jordan says: “. . . parking stall fees are good policy because they would contribute simultaneously to several important policy objectives. Parking stall fees, particularly surface stalls, will encourage better uses of urban space, which I think is a big consideration in Hartford. Per stall fees internalize more of the costs of someone’s decision to drive and raise revenue that can and should be used to encourage and subsidize other modes. The environmental and traffic benefits from mode shift are obvious.”

Diverse thinking is a wonderful thing. Yet, the key right now is to jump start the economy and get people back to work. And if they want to drive and park it is up to them.

“Downtown businesses, trying to hang on in the pandemic, are struggling with a dramatic drop-off in customers. Some worry that the potential for higher parking fees would hurt efforts to recover after the pandemic eases.”

Recovery right now is the ultimate and most important goal.


Astrid Ambroziak


Creative Director PT

Parking Today

310 390 5277 ext 9


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