Most major cities in the United States were designed before the automobile was a part of everyday life. With small roads and lots of big buildings, parking has become an issue in cramped, downtown locations.
Parking spaces are limited and expensive, and municipalities quickly realized that they can bring in big bucks with parking fees and impound fines.
Worst Major Cities for Parking
While there are plenty of places to park your beach towel, parking spots for cars are harder to find. The rates are expensive and towing is quick. There just isn’t enough space for everyone to park because the city is on an island. There are regulations everywhere and time limits on meters. It is easy to spend more than $40 a day to park in Honolulu. The best way to avoid getting towed or fined is to park in a garage and make a reservation.
Philadelphia is also one of the worst places for parking. The fines in Philadelphia are some of the highest in the nation. There are violations for everything from buses discharging passengers improperly to parking while your license is suspended. If you are parked at a meter and time has expired, the fee is $26. But there are fines that exceed $300. Many neighborhoods require their residents have parking permits, but people who have too many tickets cannot get the permits. Towing fees are at least $175, and that fee usually accompanies a few parking violation fees, too. For successful Philadelphia parking is to use a parking app to make a low-cost reservation in a parking garage.
It might not be your first thought when considering the worst major cities for parking, but New Orleans has issues. It is nearly impossible to find any type of parking in the French Quarter, but it is really easy for tow trucks to find cars that are improperly parked. It is usually a good idea to park at your hotel and walk or use public transportation. There are parking lots and garages, but they are long walks away and most do not have spaces for large trucks and SUVs. If you can find a parking meter, you could pay $3 per hour. But you could get towed if the meter runs out before you can return to fill it up again.
Of course, no list of major cities with bad parking would be complete without New York and Newark. These two cities have the same troubles: Too many cars, not enough parking. There are apps that offer reservations for parking in lots and garages around both cities. If you do not make reservations prior to attempting to park in either city, you might not find a spot anywhere near your destination.
One of the biggest problems in New York is that a large percentage of vehicles are illegally parked. When people are given tickets for parking violations, they can pay upwards of $100. Cars are towed if they are illegally parked, and you owe more than $350. To get a car out of impound, the violations need to be paid as does the cost of towing and applying/removing a boot. It is common for violators to pay more than $600 to get cars out of impound lots. The one nice thing about NYC parking is the low price of the meters, if you can find one. They range between $1 and $3.50 per hour.
Best Cities for Parking
There are some major U.S. cities that have managed to make parking practically stress-free. Atlanta, Miami, and Dallas might be big cities with lots of residents who drive, but the cities have plenty of parking available for locals and visitors.
Parking in downtown Atlanta can actually be accomplished without reservations. Streets are large, so there is room for on-street parking at meters and kiosks. There are also numerous garages, with rates that are not outrageous. Reservations can be made through apps, so it is possible to save money and time.
In Miami, the situation is the same. Miami has plenty of on-street parking and garages, too. There are a few places, like Coconut Grove, that are a bit more difficult to park in. But overall, Miami parking is not too difficult. The rates are affordable, but they do increase when sporting events take place. If you do go to a Marlins game, the locals offer their yards or on-street parking spaces. It takes a while to get out of the city when there are special events, but you can find parking. In Miami, parking tickets do not exceed $100, unless it involves a parking spot for a disabled person.
Dallas wants to make your parking experience as easy as possible, so drivers use an online app to pay for their spots. It is possible to spend under $5 to park for a night on the town in downtown Dallas. It is also possible to park for free in Dallas. The city is so big and there are so many spots, that stress is low when it comes to parking. Some hotels charge daily rates around $25, but this is less expensive than rates in other cities, like Chicago, Boston, and New York - where you could spend closer to $50 for a parking spot.
The secret to successful parking in big cities is to be prepared. Know where you are going and where you plan to park. Upload apps and use them to save money, time, and your sanity. Have you experienced parking issues in major cities?