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11 Unexpected Facts About Parking in NYC

It’s well known that New York City is one of the most populous cities in the world, with about 29,000 people per square mile. As such, it makes sense that the high level of congestion leads to parking challenges. Journey from 1935 until today, with these interesting and surprising facts about parking!

The last mechanical parking meter in New York City, removed in 2006 (The New York Times)

Fun Facts about Meters

  1. On July 16, 1935, in Oklahoma City, the very first parking meter was installed on First Street and Robinson Avenue, charging a nickel per hour and revolutionizing parking.
  2. The last New York City mechanical parking meter, an object of frustration for motorists since 1951, was withdrawn from service in Coney Island in December 2006.
  3. Today, New York’s parking meter machines have come a long way—meters utilize wireless signal and solar panels at the top to enhance reliability and sustainability.


Fun Facts about Drivers and Driving

  1. In New York, prior to 2020, almost 2 million people travel by motor vehicle through the southern half of Manhattan each weekday.
  2. In New York City, drivers spend about 107 hours per year looking for parking, according to a recent report. The searches add up to approximately $2,243 in wasted time, fuel, and emissions per driver.
  3. According to 2018 census, almost 1.4 million households in New York City own a car (compared to 3.1 million total households). That means 45% of households own a car (and almost 3 percent own three or more!).


Fun Facts about Parking

Park NYC Mobile App
  1. According to the department of motor vehicles, more than 2.2 million cars are registered in New York City’s five boroughs, and there are only about 3 million available parking spots.
  2. Not only does each driver spend about 17 hours per year looking for parking space, but it is also estimated that searching for parking accounts for one-third of inner-city traffic, creating 1.3kg of CO2 emissions per driver’s search.
  3. The most expensive permanent parking spots globally are located in New York City, costing up to $1 million per parking space. Don’t worry – most daily rates are much cheaper!
  4. Today, much of New York’s scarce street space is devoted to car parking. In Manhattan, parking takes up 44% of street space besides sidewalks, according to economist Alain Bertaud. 
  5. Launched in 2016, pay-by-cell–including payments using the ParkNYC App—now accounts for 42% of all parking meter payments!


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