Charlottesville parking garage demands decrease since the start of COVID-19

Downtown Ocala parking garage to undergo closures
Downtown Ocala parking garage to undergo closures
Published: May. 27, 2022 at 6:26 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Since the start of the pandemic, parking capacity in the Water and Market Street garages have dramatically decreased. Now the numbers are slowly starting to creep back up.

“It appears that a lot of people at least believe that hybrid work is here to stay for at least a while longer. And certainly hybrid work is having an impact on the utilization of our downtown garages,” Charlottesville Parking Manager Rick Siebert said.

Siebert says the use of parking garages is increasing, but slowly.

“You have to factor in economic growth here in downtown Charlottesville, which is still growing, new businesses are moving into the area. So even with hybrid work, what what it’s done is has given us a little bit of a pad,” Siebert said.

Across the U.S hybrid work has affected the way people park according to the International Parking Mobility Institute (IPMI).

“You’re seeing more flexible use of parking. So instead of saying, I’m going to get by a monthly, you know, monthly parking pass for all 30 or 31 days out of the month, maybe i’m buying a week pass or a daily pass,” Robert Ferrin with IPMI said.

Market street garage is at 70% capacity, and water street garage is below 50%.

Mayor Lloyd Snook says this decreased us of parking garages can be beneficial.

“Parking garage downtown takes up valuable real estate for something that doesn’t really add economic value. If we had a way of getting people to come down by bus, we can save that land for something more important,” Snook said.

Even if hybrid work is here to stay, people are attending in person events downtown.

“The reasons people are coming downtown are very similar, where tourism is picking up here in Charlottesville again. And we still have a lot of local people coming down to the mall,” Siebert said.

Both garages are expected to reach full capacity again.

“I think it will questions how fast? Will that happen over the course of a year? Five years? I don’t know. We’ll see,” Snook said.

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