As Bozeman continues to grow, parking becomes a major impediment to development. Specifically in the downtown area, where an empty lot can be worth nearly as much as the average home in Bozeman, parking spaces are valuable real estate.
Between the growing downtown community and Montana State University, residents in Bozeman’s historic downtown neighborhoods are finding their streets lined with parked cars. Some downtown residents are even having trouble parking in front of their own home.
The development proposal for the “Northside Lofts,” another five-story building with 41 housing units, was denied because of this issue. There is just not enough parking available for added housing.
Why Not Just Build More Parking Garages?
For the same reason an empty lot downtown is going for $345,000, a single parking space (18’ by 9’, or 162 square feet) costs roughly $7,400. Including the 12’ of additional space for backing out, the true land cost of a parking space runs at more than $12,000. These estimates don’t even consider construction costs.
And stacking up multiple parking spaces on the same parcel does not help either. The same sized parking space in a parking building would cost an astounding $35,000, according to a city parking consultant.
Why Would This Matter to You?
Of course, parking costs are passed down to your housing costs. By the city development code, all housing projects within most of Bozeman’s zoning districts are required to provide at least one parking space per bedroom.
Breaking down the math, for a condo worth $221,250 (the median price of a condo sold in 2016), the cost of two parking spaces on the surface would cost roughly 10.8% of the home’s value! Underground parking would be even worse, reaching approximately 30% for the same space.
How the city plans to accommodate parking as Bozeman continues to grow will determine the direction of downtown development projects. Neighbors in the shadow of downtown’s mid-rise buildings are lobbying to city planners with concerns with not only the parking issue, but also that the scale of these buildings are out of place with Bozeman’s small town charm.
Interestingly, there may be possible solutions in the works with the up-bringing of self-driving cars and car sharing similar to Uber. While it may not be practical in far outlying areas, downtown may be a great place to implement a public transportation system to reduce, or possibly eliminate, the need for parking.