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Downtown parking demand remains high, even in pandemic

Staff Report //August 25, 2020//

Downtown parking demand remains high, even in pandemic

Staff Report //August 25, 2020//

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Columbia residents are not giving up their downtown parking spaces, pandemic or not.

A recent report from Colliers International South Carolina found that the city’s overall parking garage occupancy rate remains high, decreasing slightly year over year from 83.86% during the second quarter of 2019 to 81.62% during the second quarter of 2020.

So even though more employees may be working from home during the COVID-19 health crisis, the report (.pdf) concluded, those workers are continuing to pay for places to park.

“Despite not using their parking spaces during the pandemic, many employees are unwilling to give up their spots due to high demand,” according to the report.

There are 19 parking garages in downtown Columbia — eight public and 11 private — and 2,270 available garage spaces. The minimum price for reserved parking spaces held steady at $75 a month for the second quarter of 2020, the Colliers report found, though the maximum reserved rate increased to $135 from $120 in 2019.

There are also 15 public surface lots in downtown Columbia with spaces available for hourly, daily or monthly rental with a total of 1,113 spaces available, according to the report. And there are 279 city parking areas available through the Passport parking app which may be purchased hourly or daily, as well as 133 spaces with a two-hour limit.

Colliers contacted owners of garages or lots to determine occupancy rates.  

According to the report, it may be next year before the effects of the pandemic are reflected on the downtown parking scene. The report forecasts that companies or employees may begin reducing parking spaces in the second half of 2020 if the remote working trend continues but notes that information obtained during the outbreak is subject to rapid change.