Daily parking rates in Uptown Charlotte have been climbing quickly over the past few months.
Early bird parking in particular — where people pay a set daily rate if they get the parking deck before around 8:30 a.m. — has gotten significantly more expensive, especially among the garages on 5th and 6th streets, according to an Agenda review.
You once could find $6 early bird parking across the center of the city. Now rates are regularly $9 or more.
Here are some examples.
All numbers were verified either by regular parkers in these locations or published information.
- The Center City Green deck by Time Warner Cable Arena has increased its early bird rate from $6 to $9. The deck is privately managed.
- The BB&T Center by Overstreet Mall, operated by LAZ Parking, has increased its early bird rate from $10 to $12.
- The Wake Forest City Center garage (another LAZ Parking operation) has increased its early bird from $7 to $10.
- The Transamerica Garage, at 401 North Tryon and managed by LAZ Parking, upped its hourly rate from $2 per 20 minutes to $3 per 20 minutes and eliminated its early bird deal. Parking there for the day went from $8 to the daily max of $21.
- The Seventh Street Station garage — right next to 7th Street Public Market and also managed by LAZ — raised its rates on July 1 from $2 every 20 minutes to $3, according to a letter from LAZ Parking’s operations manager.
None of the parking deck management companies responded to emails or phone calls seeking comment.
Why is this happening?
The simple answer is supply and demand, said Moira Quinn, chief operating officer of Charlotte Center City Partners.
“Employment is high, office vacancy rates are low and there’s just not much vacant parking,” she said.
But consolidation and turnover in the parking industry also is likely playing a role. Several of the price increases have taken effect after a new company took over management of a parking garage.
LAZ Parking, a large national company, has made significant moves in the Charlotte market over the past few years. Several companies have ceded lots to LAZ since last July.
What can you do?
Don’t expect daily prices to come down anytime soon. But there are a few options. Monthly parking remains cheaper if you’re able to shell out all at once, and some companies subsidize this. You can also generally use pre-tax money out of your paycheck for work-related parking costs.
If you’re willing to walk a bit, surface parking lots haven’t been going up in price as dramatically. Closer to Graham Street, parking is still $3 to $4 per day.
The light rail also costs $4.40 round-trip per day and CATS does not charge for the park-and-ride lots.