More than two dozen Pittsburgh Parking Authority (PPA) lots and garages across the city are increasing rates Friday.
The increases vary by location. All-day parking at the Third Avenue Garage will jump from $12.75 to $16; the Oliver Garage will rise $4.25 to $17; and, the Mellon Square and Smithfield-Liberty garages will remain the most expensive city-owned parking structures in the city at $18.
Sewickley resident Amy White typically parks at the First Avenue Garage, which starting Friday, will charge $11 for an all-day parking pass. She said she works multiple jobs and can’t rely on city buses or the light rail transit system.
“The public transportation is not an option for me because I have to be at another job before and after,” she said. “I’ve even tried biking in and I would love to be able to do that, but that takes me about an hour and a half. There are very, very few options in parking for downtown Pittsburgh.”
Short term parking rates and monthly leases are also going up. Those looking to park for an hour or less can expect to shell out $5, up from $3.50. Leases at the First Avenue Garage were $195. Now that number is closer to $220 per month.
White said she doesn’t know if she can afford to park in the First Avenue Garage any longer.
“You have to be in by eight o’clock just to get a spot,” she said. “You can’t get a lease here because there’s a waiting list of 25 people just for the waiting list. But the rate increase is ridiculous. It’s just ridiculous to try and park in downtown Pittsburgh. It has a huge effect on my budget.”
The Parking Authority board voted in June to raise parking rates, the first increase since 2004. The new rates are projected to bring in an additional $5 million year, according to PPA Director David Onorato, the majority of that money going towards the city police, fire and municipal employee pension funds.
In 2010, City Council pledged $735 million in parking revenue over 30 years to the pension funds to avoid a state takeover.
Beechview resident David Russo parks in the First Avenue Garage almost every day. He said the city has been “handcuffed” by the Parking Authority.
“Parking’s at a premium,” he said. “And I imagine it’s that way in most cities, but to be here you have to park and pay the price.”
The city receives about $18 million a year from the PPA, the majority of that money coming from taxes and citations.