According to this article, Gilbert, AZ is considering seeking federal stimulus funding for a parking garage. The Gilbert, AZ garage is projected to cost $7.5M for 350 spaces (not sure if that’s total or marginal) but that’s $21,400 per space. Article states that their downtown “needs more parking”. Here’s an aerial view of the site mentioned in the article.
I think before we use federal funding to buy a garage for this low-density site, we should probably figure out how much parking is worth to the people driving, by pricing or managing the parking they have already. I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m willing to bet that the parking is not going to be worth more than the $200 per month you’d need to build such a parking garage (based on amortized construction costs and operating costs). If the small downtown shopping area is popular enough, people should be willing to chip in a couple of bucks to park there in exchange for knowing there will be a space available when they arrive.
Update: Commenter Mark points out that the town is over 200,000 people, so I’ve edited the title which used to refer to Gilbert as a “small town”. It’s still officially a town, and from the look of the aerial view, still low density.