There is a parking deck right next to our office building. The monthly fee is $80. Cheap, in comparison to most cities. Affordable.
Four blocks away from our office building are the bridges going over the railroad tracks that bisect Birmingham. The bidges are lined with parking spaces whose parking meters have all been removed. So parking is free. There are almost always spaces available.
- Do you pay $80 for the deck? Walking into the office from the parking deck takes maybe 1 minute. Presuming being at the office 23 days a month, and 2 minutes daily of walking, that’s .8 hours a month spent walking back and forth to a car parked on the bridge.
- Or do you walk the 4 blocks? Walking to the office from the bridge probably takes 5 minutes. Presuming being at the office 23 days a month, and 10 minutes daily of walking, that’s 3.8 hours a month spent walking back and forth to a car parked on the bridge.
By parking on the bridge, you are cutting an extra 3 hours out of your month. Even billing bargain basement rates of document review at $50 an hour, it makes economic sense to pay the fee to park in the deck. It would pay for itself in an hour and half of billing. After that you are making money you would not be by parking 4 blocks away.
Plus there a number of other factors to consider when parking on the bridge. There are the occasional homeless accosting you for money. Construction. Bad weather. Today it’s 30 F and sleeting. Likely snow* later.
But I walk those 4 blocks everyday. I enjoy feeling the city. It acts as a buffer to my day before and after work, a chance to clear my mind and stretch my legs. I don’t talk on the phone to anyone or listen to music or podcasts. I think. It’s a time to plan or reflect on my day. No distractions, no interruptions. Time alone with my thoughts. There’s no economic, tangible value to it. But it feels invaluable to me.
Where would you park?
* (In Alabama snow means utter disaster. Runs on milk and bread at the grocery store. Mass hysteria by the local weather reporters. Schools and businesses closing. An uptick in car accidents. How much snow? 1-2 inches.)