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Recovery at the Former Epicenter of COVID-19

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

While COVID-19 has caused massive disruption across many industries such as restaurants, events, hospitality, airline & travel - parking underlies them all. Making parking demand data a key barometer of the economy and resident behaviors.

Across the U.S., parking demand fell 90% YOY starting the week of March 10th, almost immediately following the shelter-in-place order. As people effectively quarantined to slow the spread of COVID-19, activity remained relatively consistent. Until the end of April/early May when garages in NY started to see an 11% week-over-week growth rate.

Then, in June, when NYC began phase one of re-opening, including non-essential businesses, parking demand accelerated to +17% week-over-week. Currently, the national average for YOY parking garage activity is -65%, whereas in NY, that number is closer to -40% and in some regions, it’s at -20%.

New York City, once the epicenter of the world's coronavirus pandemic, has strong recovery signals, all while positive COVID test rates hit a record low of 0.24% as of August 19th.

Contributors to an Outperforming Market During COVID

Land Use & Zoning: Distributed Demand

Effective land use in New York City’s parking garages are likely playing an important role in the positive recovery rate. In most markets of the U.S., garages are reserved for one parker segment, whereas in New York, garage use benefits from all types of demand including residential, office, commercial, and events.

Many of these regions don’t have zoning rules and garages benefit from the close proximity of residential and commercial properties. Additionally, garages that are close to safer, outdoor activities like a park or beach have recovered at a higher rate as well.

Industry Mix

When comparing the New York job market to a city like, San Francisco for example, New York has a more diverse industry mix. Whereas a city like San Francisco that has dense technology population with more flexibility to work from home, hasn’t experienced the same level of recovery.

A Shift in Public Transportation

The added sense of security and safety in one’s private vehicle has impacted public transportation and grown the demand for private parking. Specifically in New York City, subway activity has dropped to about 20% of normal occupancy, shifting commuters to buses or alternative modes of transportation.

Whereas, in most other markets, there was not a significant difference before and after the start of the pandemic, most regions largely always relied on private transportation, leaving no shift in demand.

Online Sales Channels

A unique factor has been the surge of parking reservation use. Likely due to commuters' switch from public transportation to private parking.

In the figure below, you can see that parking revenue in New York has recovered to 2019 their 2019 levels, vastly outpacing other markets.

With an excess of supply and limited demand, asset owners and parking operators leveraging reservation channels and automated dynamic parking rates to drive new users towards their garages. Dynamic parking rates have proven to increase revenue by 163% on average, and increase demand by 50% during low demand times.

Schedule time with our team to learn about automating parking rates to drive demand and increase revenue.

About Smarking

The leading Business Intelligence and Yield Management solution in North America, powering 2,000+ locations. Smarking specializes in turning transaction-level parking data into powerful, actionable insights. Partnered with real estate leaders including J.P. Morgan, Macerich, Unico, and Brookfield Properties. Learn more about Smarking’s solutions for Commercial Real Estate Owners.


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