That’ll Cost You: Atlantic Station tightens up parking policy (Updated)

Parking lot: Spring Street and Luckie Street

What Now, Atlanta? reported Tuesday that Atlantic Station will end it’s first-two-hours-free parking policy next week. Here’s the new parking policy (PDF).

Making a purchase at any Atlantic Station store, restaurant or food truck will earn visitors two hours of parking validation. Validation at the movie theater will tack on another two free hours.

*Update*: Atlantic Station tweeted yesterday that the parking policy change will go into effect later this month.

*Second Update* Henry Unger at the AJC’s Biz Beat blog reported that Atlantic Station is now reconsidering the pay-to-park idea.

As you’ll observe by reading the more than 80 comments on the post at WNA, parking – when, how much and even whether it should cost – is a thorny subject around here. See also any Creative Loafing piece written about ParkAtlanta.

Coincidentally, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported yesterday that Atlanta is ranked among the least expensive large cities in which to park. The city’s median monthly price for parking increased 2.2 percent over last year, to $95. The median daily rate, $12, remained the same.

Why does parking get so many people so hot?

Perhaps people who don’t live in the city are less accustomed to having to pay for parking, so when they come to attend events, the cost is a bit of a surprise. It doesn’t help that the rates at parking lots close to event venues or popular restaurants are prone to sudden, triple-digit inflation.

Or perhaps a lot of people think of parking as a public utility, like street lights or traffic signals, something that should be there in sufficient quantities for everyone’s use.  There’s also the not-insignificant issue of the shortage of viable transit options for people inside and outside the city. If driving is the most efficient or only way to arrive at a destination, maybe it seems unfair that there’s a sort of penalty for bringing a car with you.

Also, is this even an Atlanta-specific complaint? Or are parking costs and restrictions like local news – everyone, in every city, thinks theirs is the absolute worst?

4 Comments so far

  1. roxie (unregistered) on July 9th, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

    A tweet from Atlantic Station’s account says they won’t be raising
    prices on the 11th, but have postponed it to later this month.
    Great news for all the HPDH2 midnight peeps

  2. Tamra (tlt0912) on July 12th, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

    Hmmm. I responded to your comment, mine got eaten somehow so I’ll
    try again. Thanks for the info. I’ve updated the post.

  3. abby on July 13th, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

    Frankly, I never saw much of an issue here. If you’re driving to
    Atlantic Station with no intention of buying even a cup of coffee,
    what are you doing? It’s private property, not magically built for
    free, and they’re trying to cut down on the kids who go there and
    hang out without “contributing” anything (this is what I read on
    the blogs – I haven’t actually noticed all these loitering
    teenagers everyone’s up in arms about). I go to Atlantic Station
    when I need something from a store, or to go to the occasional
    movie, so a change like the proposal wouldn’t bother me.

  4. ha1ku (unregistered) on July 16th, 2011 @ 9:04 pm

    I think parking should be charged in response to the demand.
    Everyone loves free, but how great is the parking if you spend
    fifteen minutes driving around to look for a spot? I stopped
    shopping at Perimeter Mall a long time ago because of the difficult
    parking. Maybe it’s better now, but the experience has been enough
    to dissuade me from coming back.

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