The 3 P’s of parking (P-2)

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Monthly parking passes return at the Emmett Street lot]

Continuing with the 3 P’s of marketing/parking (product, price, and promotion) as they relate to the Emmett Street parking lot (see The 3 P’s of parking [P-1] ):

Pay to Park sign 003Price

Price should be determined by supply and demand. 


Supply of public parking is largely fixed unless the city renegotiates the terms of its lease to LAZ Parking/Chicago Parking Meters, LLC.  Let’s put it this way, it is highly unlikely that the number of public parking spots will be reduced due to the high cost of compensating LAZ Parking/Chicago Parking Meters, LLC for the potential lost revenue.  And I don’t see the city feeling generous or desiring to further antagonize Chicago drivers by creating even more metered parking spaces.

From the premise of fixed supply of public parking, price then needs to be determined by demand. 


Right now demand continues to lag.  I’ve again checked the Emmett Street lot recently at different times of day and different days of the week, and the highest number of parked cars I’ve counted at any one time is 53, for a lot that can accommodate approximately 120 cars at capacity.

Private competition

There is also competition in supply from private parking lots at McDonald’s, 2700-2734 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Pierre’s and a handful of spaces behind many properties.

Non-parking competition

And there is also competition in choice of public transportation and/or self-powered transportation alternatives.

Competition with street parking

But for drivers tending to business on Milwaukee Avenue that is not at McDonald’s, 2700-2734 N. Milwaukee Avenue or Pierre’s, the first competition in the supply of public parking spaces is Milwaukee Avenue street parking.  Given the choice between parking on the street or parking in the Emmett Street lot at the same price, anyone who has business on Milwaukee Avenue will choose the street for the convenience.  It’s closer to the destination.  Presently, for the short-term parker, street and Emmett Street parking lot spaces are priced the same at $1 an hour. 

The Emmett Street lot’s best advantage over street parking is that it permits parking for longer than two hours.  The two-hour time limit on Milwaukee Avenue, however, is a regulation that just isn’t enforced, rendering the lot’s advantage moot. 

Also, while the Emmett Street parking lot rates are reduced by half after 9:00 p.m., Milwaukee Avenue street rates are reduced by 100% to free after 9:00 p.m.  The Emmett Street lot again has an advantage because early morning street cleaning on Milwaukee Avenue effectively eliminates overnight parking on the street, but perhaps it should have three different rates whose times roughly coincide with Milwaukee Avenue restrictions.

The Emmett Street lot should be cheaper than the Milwaukee Avenue street parking.  Those that want to pay for the more convenient street parking would then pay a premium for the convenience, or Emmett Street lot parkers would receive a discount for a “lesser” product. 

Just 66 days from today (watch the countdown to the next parking rate increase over at The Expired Meter), LAZ Parking/Chicago Parking Meters, LLC has an opportunity to make this price adjustment with little ill feelings.  When it next raises rates on the street spaces, it should keep the Emmett Street lot rates the same during the day and reduce them after 9:00 p.m.

Competition with downtown parking

Given its location near the Logan Square “el” station/bus depot, the Emmett Street lot is convenient for those wishing to park and ride. 

Pay to Park sign and station 003At the $1 hourly rate, however, it is not competitive with some downtown parking lots.  For someone with a typical 8½ hour day and taking into account a half hour “el” ride each way, 9½ hours would cost $9.50, plus $2.25 in subway fare each way for a total daily cost of $14.00. 

Granted, most downtown parking lots charge more than $14.00 a day, but there are early bird specials for $14.00 or less.  Even in rush hour traffic, the commute time would be relatively the same as on the “el.”  For the same or less cost, I think most drivers would opt for the convenience of their cars.  If they share the ride with just one other person, based on cost, downtown parking would be the optimal choice.

Finally in August, monthly parking was reinstated (see Monthly parking passes return at the Emmett Street lot) at a rate of $65 a month.  For a commuter driving five days a week, the monthly rate works out to just over $3 a day (it will be more if accounting for sick days, holidays and vacation).  Added to round-trip subway fare, the daily cost would be a reasonable $7.50.   But for just a little more coupled with the convenience of their own cars, drivers can still find downtown parking as low as $10.00 a day (I took advantage of one just one month ago).

For area residents who might park in the lot nightly though, the monthly parking pass is more than reasonable at just over $2 a day.  I originally thought the new monthly rate too low, but even at $2 a day, demand is lacking.

Maintaining the current hourly daytime rates rather than raising them next year may sway additional commuters to park and ride.  But the monthly rate must also be reconsidered.  It is presently not priced low enough to attract many commuters or residents, and there is no increase in the monthly rate that will change that!

Next:  Promotion

Sensory perception:

Japanese Maples Troy St. framedOn the nearby residential street of Troy, nature displays a seasonal color palette on three Japanese Maples within a block of each other.


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