Friday, August 31, 2018 by Elizabeth Pagano

Affordable Parking Program expands

Downtown parking may have just gotten a bit easier, thanks to a public-private partnership aimed at downtown service industry workers.

The city of Austin and the Downtown Austin Alliance announced yesterday that, after a partnership with Premier Parking, the Affordable Parking Program is now 2,000 spaces bigger. It’s the second expansion this year, and the first into private parking garages. In July, the program stood at 500 spaces. Now it has expanded into eight private garages owned by companies that include Endeavor Real Estate Group, Stream Realty and TIG.

The Affordable Parking Program launched in May 2016 as part of an effort to support service industry workers downtown. The Downtown Austin Alliance group hopes that it will also help reduce congestion downtown. Studies have found that a third of the traffic downtown is created by people circling, looking for parking.

In addition to the number of spaces, the expansion also represents an expansion in hours, which now begin as early as 3 p.m. The earlier opening times are more accommodating of some evening shifts than the previous opening times of the city garages.

“With this surge in reach and availability, downtown employees now have more access than ever to the Affordable Parking Program,” said Jason Redfern, parking operations manager at the Austin Transportation Department. “We’re excited to work with Premier Parking to open the program up to more people who need it, including those who are starting their shifts just as the traditional work day is winding down.”

Casey Burack, general counsel and VP of government affairs with the Downtown Austin Alliance, spoke to the Austin Monitor about the expansion. “I think some of the kinks got worked out with the first round of garages,” she said.

Burack said the DAA was currently working with the city on other parking programs to address downtown concerns, including addressing on-street construction parking and continuing work with private garage operators to “unlock” garage spaces downtown that are currently private and underutilized.

“If we could unlock the inventory downtown, we really won’t have the congestion on the streets that’s caused by on-street parking,” she said. “Because there will be more market-priced off-street parking available to the public. That’s really the goal.”

Spaces leased through the program cost $40 plus tax per month. Applications are available at AustinTexas.gov/AffordableParking.

  • Frost Garage – 401 Congress Ave., 3 p.m.-7 a.m. M-F and all day Sat./Sun.
  • 600 Congress Garage – 600 Congress Ave., 3 p.m.-7 a.m. M-F and all day Sat./Sun.
  • 300 W. 6th Garage – 300 W. Sixth St., 4 p.m.-7 a.m. M-F and all day Sat./Sun.
  • Littlefield Garage – 508 Brazos St., 3 p.m.-7 a.m. M-F and all day Sat./Sun.
  • 501 Congress Garage – 112 E. Fifth St., 4 p.m.-7 a.m. M-F and all day Sat./Sun.
  • Lavaca Plaza Garage – 504 Lavaca St., 4 p.m.-7 a.m. M-F and all day Sat./Sun.
  • St. David’s Church Garage – 710 Trinity St., 3 p.m.-7 a.m. M-F and all day Sat./Sun.
  • Seaholm Garage – 211 Walter Seaholm Dr., 4 p.m.-7 a.m. M-F and all day Sat./Sun.

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This story has been corrected to note that findings on downtown traffic were not specific to the DAA study.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Downtown Austin Alliance: A nonprofit, membership-based organization focused, according to its website, on "preserving and enhancing the value and vitality of downtown Austin."

Transportation Department: This city department is responsible for municipal transportation planning including roadways and bikeways.

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