Expansion advances broader strategy to relieve downtown parking issues
The City of Austin and the Downtown Austin Alliance are making more City-owned, downtown parking available to service-industry professionals and other evening workers by expanding the City’s Affordable Parking Program. This partnership is part of the next phase of the Downtown Austin Alliance’s Downtown Parking Strategy.
The Affordable Parking Program is intended to make downtown parking more accessible and provide financial relief to those who help make downtown hospitality and tourism possible. Starting today, the City of Austin and the Downtown Austin Alliance have significantly expanded the program to include affordable evening parking at the City Hall garage and the One Texas Center garage, across Lady Bird Lake on Barton Springs Road. The City of Austin is providing the facilities, while the Downtown Austin Alliance and its transportation management association, Movability, are working with local businesses and directing downtown workers to the program to maximize its potential.
Today’s expansion more than doubles the capacity of the Affordable Parking Program, increasing it from approximately 200 spaces to approximately 500 spaces.
“This program is an important step in relieving parking-related traffic congestion,” said Jason Redfern, parking operations manager with the Austin Transportation Department. “Austin Transportation is always looking for options that can help people navigate the city more effectively and enjoy what downtown has to offer. We’re thrilled to partner with the Downtown Austin Alliance to expand this program.”
The City of Austin launched the Affordable Parking Program in May 2016 by providing affordable evening parking at the Waller Creek Center Garage in the Red River Cultural District, and partnered with the Texas Facilities Commission in April 2018 to add the State of Texas Garage North near the Second and Fourth Street districts.
An application is required to participate in the Affordable Parking Program, with a monthly fee ranging from $35 (Waller Creek Center, City Hall and One Texas Center) to $65 (State of Texas Garage North). Applications and more information, including hours, are available at austintexas.gov/affordableparking.
In addition to partnering to expand this program aimed at increasing affordability, the Downtown Austin Alliance’s efforts include a comprehensive inventory of downtown parking options and recommendations.
“Studies have shown that, on average, 30 percent of the cars in downtown traffic are looking for parking,” Dewitt Peart, president and chief executive officer of the Downtown Austin Alliance, said. “Having enough convenient, available parking spaces is critical to keeping traffic flowing as downtown continues to grow. It’s also crucial to keeping the economy going, as parking options help attract people to work, eat and shop downtown.”
To develop its Downtown Parking Strategy, the Downtown Alliance employed an extensive process, including public engagement, a review of codes and policies and a detailed analysis of usage patterns for every downtown parking space. Since then, the Downtown Austin Alliance has been partnering with the City of Austin, Movability and other downtown stakeholders to further implement its Downtown Parking Strategy, and will announce more partnership initiatives with Austin Transportation in the coming months.