Oct
29

Parking prices up 50% at stadium lots for 2011

By

For the league's most transit-accessible ballpark, Yankee Stadium is surrounded by too many parking lots.

Yankee fans who opt to drive to the Bronx next season may find themselves in for a new round of sticker shock. Due to lower-than-expected revenue and the looming threat of default on a bond payment, Bronx Parking Development, the owner of the stadium parking garages, will raise parking rates as much as 50 percent for the 2011 season. Barring an off-season restructuring of the parking lot bonds, a spot in the lots will now cost at least $35 while the valet option will reach $45.

It never made much sense for the city of New York to surround Yankee Stadium with parking lots. Because of the fast, easy and cheap access provided by the IRT and IND subways, relatively few Yankee fans drive to the games as it is, and the new Metro-North stop made transit access that much easier (and cheaper). Yet, even though on-street parking remained an option and the rates at the Gateway Shopping Mall lots are just $10, the city expanded the number of stadium spots from 6500 to 9127 against the wishes of Bronx politicians and community leaders.

The move has been a debacle from the start. This year, for instance, when the Red Sox were in town, BPD reported just 5600 paid costumers. To add insult to injury, New York selected a company with a history of defaulting on bond payments to build the lots.

Last month, I reported that BPD was facing a revenue crisis. Because the company saw just $4.8 million in revenue — half of its initial estimates — BPD was in danger of defaulting on its payments. Parking rates would inevitably have to increase for 2011, and as Juan Gonzalez reports today, that is exactly what’s going to happen. He reports:

Even at [$35 per car], the garages will still fall into a technical default unless two-thirds of bondholders agree to waive some requirements in the original construction bonds.

Bronx Parking barely managed to make a $6.8 million bond payment that was due Oct. 1 and will likely not have enough cash to make its next $6.8 million due in April. Without the waiver, the company warned, it will be forced to charge a minimum of $55 per car next year to avoid a default.

“The truth of the matter is, the whole thing’s a mess,” said one financial adviser to several bondholders. “If the city doesn’t step in, there’s no way Bronx Parking can pay back the money it took to build those garages.”

This story just gets messier and messier as it progresses. The city’s Economic Development Corporation seemingly flushed taxpayer money down the drain in selection Bronx Parking Development as well. They granted the company $237 million in tax-free bonds and gave it $100 million as well. This is money we’re likely never to see returned to New York’s empty coffers.

For now, the bondholders are struggling to restructure the company’s finances in order to avoid a default, but as Gonzalez points out, higher rates will do nothing to stem this financial bleeding. As parking rates go up, more and more fans will choose to reach the stadium via transit.

Bronx officials meanwhile are urging the city to correct this project’s deep flaws. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz wants the city to sell off the excess garage space for “other development projects” that will better benefit the South Bronx area. Said one Bronx politician to the Daily News, “We don’t need a wasteland of empty garages in this borough.”

Categories : Yankee Stadium
  • Will

    This is clearly racist against people from New Jersey.

    • Jerome S

      It’s not racism if they’re not people. The Jersey mole-people can go back to the holes from whence they came.

      • JerseyDutch

        My mole-wife is going to be pissed when I tell her I missed last month’s hole payment.

        • Thomas

          That sounds really dirty.

    • crotch

      Good.

  • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

    Maybe people wouldn’t be so aggravated after a loss if they didn’t have to lay out the cost of a week’s worth at Disneyworld, only to watch Vazquez stink it up for 3.2 innings and then sit in abominable traffic for 2 hours back to Westchester.

    We’re not ‘spoiled’ as Yankees fans, we’re disgruntled! ;-)

  • Beamish

    I commute the games from Newark most of the time – PATH to the 4. Still easier than driving.

    I care not at all about this. Make parking $100/game. This is New York City – transit is the only right answer.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      To be clear: The story here isn’t that the rates are going up, and that’s a bad thing. The story is that the city royally botched this deal, built way too many garages despite strident community opposition to it and wasted significant amount of taxpayer dollars in doing so.

      Use transit. I’m all for it.

      • Jerome S

        I’ve seen your website before, and I must know: What came first, RAB or SAS?

        • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

          SAS came before RAB, but I was writing about the Yankees and baseball online before I started writing about transit.

        • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

          The template looks suspiciously familiar!

      • pat

        For some reason SAS is blocked at work but RAB is not.

        • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

          What’s the software program doing the blocking?

          • CBean

            My firefox keeps crashing everytime I try to open SAS.

        • Thomas

          It makes you wonder what Ben is doing (and then writing about) on the subway that makes it so inappropriate.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Terriosts.

      • Neil

        As somebody who grew up in the suburbs where all transportation revolved around cars I’m slowly turning to mass transit. I was able to take the train to the Giants game round trip from New Haven to the Meadowlands via one change in Secaucus Junction for $38 round trip. Very enjoyable. Still have not done the train to the Yankee game but parking at $35 per game it seems inevitable. For my one post season game this year I used the Gateway garage at $30 instead of Lot 8 at $40. Gateway is about a 1/2 block farther than Lot 8. Not a problem.

  • bonestock94

    I don’t know, it still might be better than getting squeezed to death in the 4 train.

  • Murakami

    My eyes are messed up after 6 cups of green tea left steeping too long. I also don’t have the patience to read through the article, but I’m one of the people who uses Rupert.

    If they built too many garages, why aren’t the prices going DOWN?

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Because the garage owner has to make payments on bonds he issued to build the garage, and since the garages aren’t filling up, he’s not making enough money to meet the payments. Thus, higher prices.

      • Murakami

        Thanks. Here’s somethin’ kinda crazy – maybe if the idiots cut the prices, they’d fill up again.

        • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

          Even with lower prices, the demand just isn’t there. Between the cost of gas, post-game traffic and speed, it’s easier to drive. They’d have to drop prices to a ridiculously low level and still wouldn’t realize a profit.

          Take the Red Sox game that had just 5600 out of a possible 9127. At $25, that game saw $140,000 in revenue. If you drop the price by $5, you’d have to fill up 7000 spots to get the same revenue. Considering the old stadium had just 6500 spots and those weren’t selling out regularly, it’s nearly impossible to realize 7000 paid parking spots for a Yankee game.

          • Ed

            Considering the old stadium had just 6500 spots and those weren’t selling out regularly, it’s nearly impossible to realize 7000 paid parking spots for a Yankee game.

            Do you have any idea how long that trend has held for?

            When I would go to games in the early to mid 90s – when attendance was typically 20-25,000 per game – the lots close to the stadium were usually full and we’d have to hunt around for a garage with space. For the past 10 years or so I’ve been taking trains to the stadium, so I have no idea when things changed.

            I’m wondering if the change in parking has to do with the change in fan demographics. In the 90s something like 80-90% of the attendance came from NJ, and NJ Transit didn’t have good connections to NY. I believe in recent years the majority of the attendance comes from NY, and NJ Transit now offers much more service to Manhattan than they did 5 years ago. Perhaps when the parking garage plans were made, the majority of the attendance was still people driving in from NJ?

            • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Hold on… This is tangential, but still… “In the 90s something like 80-90% of the attendance came from NJ?” That can’t be true. Did that number come from somewhere, or are you (really inaccurately) spitballing, here?

  • the other Steve S.

    None of these idiots took Econ 101 in school? Parking price goes up=usage goes down=revenue stays the same or drops.

    Maybe they could have flea markets in the off-season to raise money.

    • Ed

      Parking price goes up=usage goes down

      Right…

      revenue stays the same or drops.

      Not if you set your prices correctly. If you want a 25% increase in revenue, you need to raise your prices more than 25% to offset the people that stop using your parking.

  • Regis

    I live on the east end of Long Island and I go to 5 or 6 games a year – I pay $25 to park about 5 blocks from the Stadium. I consider that very reasonable.
    I used to park at another lot almost across the street from where I park now but the parking rate there went from $25 to $50.

    • Murakami

      We’d do something similar, except my girlfriend has a long-standing knee injury and can’t make the hike. We park in handicapped and usually upgrade to handicapped seating.

      The Stadium, as it is, is not itself too handicapped friendly. Rupert allows us to walk the ramp out of the garage, and just across the street to Gate 4.

  • Sean C

    Any time my family would take vacations to Long Island to visit my dad’s side of the family in Port Washington, we’d either take the train into the city and then subway, or drive and park at a random lot across the street from the old stadium for $25… This parking deck situation seems a little on the absurd side. I got to go to my first games at the new stadium last summer during a series with Tampa (first home game after Steinbrenner died, and the one where Andy left with the leg injury) and walking past the parking decks, I thought it was ridiculous how much they charged… This whole situation seems counter-intuitive. On a side note, parking decks around Busch Stadium charge $15 (but the New York Yankees, they are not).

  • Murakami

    I can tell you, it was a breeze to get into that lot this season, but last, we often had to be squeezed in – having paid in advance online – in a created space – usually vertical to the outer wall where the traffic entered and exited by.

    The price during both regular seasons was similar, so I don’t think pricing played a part.

  • Jerome S

    In Soviet Russia, car drive you!

    I will apologize for that at a later date.

  • Mike

    Maybe if parking was $10, the garages would be full. If people aren’t there, they can’t spend money in the Bronx! The garages will be emptier next year. The company should just default on the bonds, and maybe new ownership will wise up.

  • CT ED

    For me the price is almost 100% a factor … a ticket on the train from CT is $20 round trip … parking can be free to $8 at CT train stations … This year my wife and I drove to every game we went to because of the convenience driving home and parking was less than train tickets for 2 people. Next year those economics will barely hold as $35 is pretty close to the $40 for the train for 2.

    The lone positive of driving with higher prices is that it is definitely quicker getting home (especially this past season where traffic was much lighter than normal).

    For example, took the train to all 3 playoff games when they had jacked up the parking prices.

    • Neil

      Driving back to CT during the week from a night game is a potential nightmare due to road construction. That light traffic is compacted to one lane!

  • rek4gehrig

    It’s the MTA’s fault

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      For once, it actually isn’t.

      • rek4gehrig

        Of course it is. Everything is their fault :-) (Actually I’m pissed at the MTA for raising subway prices yet again so for now, everything’s their fault)

  • Joe P

    You are out of your mind if you don’t park somewhere else and take the subway. D and B are easily accessible from A so if you’re on the west side of Manhattan you can hop on. It’s really easy to find parking uptown (near 207th St., etc) and just take the A to the D from there. It takes about 30 minutes and saves a lot of cash.

  • Pat D

    I live in Pennsylvania. Driving’s really the only option for me. I didn’t get to a game this year. Last year when me and a friend of mine went, we parked in the River Ave. Garage. I don’t remember how much it was, in the low $20 area, I think.

    This makes me kinda upset as I try to pick out a game to go to next year. Since my intention is to go to a game with my parents next year, I know they won’t want to be hassled and so we’ll be parking in one of these damn lots.