In New Haven, fewer drivers using parking garages, but number of incidents rise

NEW HAVEN — The number of incidents in New Haven Parking Authority garages and lots — most of them minor car crashes or break-ins — reached 31 in July, the highest since that number was recorded in February 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. However, according to the most […]

NEW HAVEN — The number of incidents in New Haven Parking Authority garages and lots — most of them minor car crashes or break-ins — reached 31 in July, the highest since that number was recorded in February 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

However, according to the most recent monthly report by Sammy Parry, chief operating officer, far fewer drivers are using the garages, in particular the two largest, the Air Rights Garage and Union Station.

Despite the July increase incidents, Doug Hausladen, executive director of the Parking Authority said “the trends are showing that we’re having a normal year when it comes to incidents.”

In 2019, the Air Rights Garage, the authority’s largest with a maximum capacity of 2,552, averaged 2,332 users, according to Parry’s report. In 2020, the garage had a low of 1,196 in April. Through July 2021, the average was 1,578, with 1,619 users in July. The Parking Authority’s seven garages and 19 parking lots total about 10,000 spaces, Parry said.

“The pandemic is continuing to cause parking numbers to be lower than normal,” Hausladen said. “The numbers of parkers in our garages follow the pattern of the pandemic and reopening of the economy.”

He said numbers should rise as colleges reopen and students and staff use both Union Station and downtown garages.

“College Street Music Hall has reopened indoors to shows as well, requiring a proof of vaccination or a negative test,” Hausladen said. “These individual steps will lead to a collective return of our parking numbers, slowly but surely, as we reopen from the pandemic.”

The Air Rights Garage in New Haven Aug. 18, 2021.

The Air Rights Garage in New Haven Aug. 18, 2021.

Peter Hvizdak / Hearst Connecticut Media

The most common incident in all the facilities is motor vehicles being struck, with eight in July, all in the Air Rights Garage; six were reported by the person whose car caused the damage.

“Our customers are incredibly honest and forthcoming. They apologize and are profusely sorry,” Hausladen said.

Elida Schollmeyer

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