GALVESTON — The beginning of the tourism season brought a big jump in revenue from the city’s seawall parking program, according to the latest report released from the Texas General Land Office.

Between March and May, the program collected $157,229 in parking fees. That amount was nearly double what was collected in the preceding three months. Between December and February, the program collected $58,105 in beach-user fee revenues.

Since its launch on July 27, 2013, the program has collected $392,014.39. After subtracting expenses, the city’s beach user fee fund has a balance of $198,047.

The city is required to report its beach-user fee revenues and expenses to the General Land Office every three months.

Despite the increased amount in collections, the parking program has made less money than was anticipated at the beginning of the fiscal year. The 2013-14 city budget anticipated that the program would collect $1.5 million from parking fees. The city has since walked back those projections, and the police department has cut the operating expenses associated with running the program.

Revenues from beach-user fees are required by law to be spent on beach enhancements, including infrastructure. In July, the City Council approved a plan that would use parking revenues in conjunction with $5.8 million in federal transit grants to install new amenities on the seawall, including bathrooms and lighting.

The figures reported to the state do not include money raised through parking fines, which are considered separate from beach-user fees.

The seawall parking program collects $1 per hour or up to $8 per day from visitors who park on Seawall Boulevard from Sixth to 69th streets and 81st to 103rd streets. A $25 annual pass is also available.

At a glance

Seawall Parking Revenue

July 27, 2013 to Aug. 2013       $89,866

Sept. 2013 to Nov. 2013           $86,813.86

Dec. 2013 to Feb. 2014            $58,105.53

March 2014 to May 2014          $157,229

TOTAL                                     $392,014.39

Contact reporter John Wayne Ferguson at 409-683-5226 or

(8) comments

Ellen Morrison

The short version:
In 10 months, usable money generated is under $200K =

Ellen Morrison

the rest (making it not so short ; ) -

less than $20k/month, which doesn't include expectedly high-paying months of June and July. but seriously nowhere near what was projected. And I don't think it will pay for much.

Wasn't a fan of the ballot proposal as written, but don't mind the concept of paying for parking on the seawall... just seems like yet another stinking boondoggle served up to the citizens on a silver platter.

George Croix

Raise the prices for parking.
They are WAY too cheap.
Nobody drives 50 miles plus loaded down for a beach trip just to then turn around and go home over a rate that is TWICE what's charged now.
Galveston will soon be at the point of losing money on each transaction, but trying to make it up in volume.
Something that doesn't work, despite what accountants might claim...[whistling]

George Croix

Just wondering belatedly, how many of the very cheap annual passes have been issued. Anyone making more than 3 day trips a year to the Seawall would be crazy not to buy one.
Then they could make up to 362 more day trips with parking for free.

Steve Fouga

Yep. Seawall parking in Galveston is one of Texas's great bargains. Like you say, TOO much of a bargain.

Don Schlessinger

Part of the agreement made by the city during the vote regarding Sea Wall parking was set parking costs of $1.00 per hour or $25.00 for an annual pass. It's my understanding those prices were to stand for the life of the 7 yr. agreement. To change it legally another vote would be required. I don't think the city wants to go through that right now. The question of paid parking would have to be raised again, the odds of that being passed are slim.

The idea of paid parking was poorly thought out in the first place, and a disaster when executed. Many of us predicted what we're seeing now.

The city made a big deal of making a 7 year deal with the voters. Many of us want the city to honor this one. Even if it's the only deal the city's made with the voters in 50 years that's been kept, we want it to stand as is.

George Croix

Fair enough.
If the deal was 7 years, then the deal should be 7 years.
It will be interesting to see if that 7 can be made without expenses to run the parking program eventually exceeding revenues from it, as prices for just about everything begin to necessarily skyrocket.
Hope not, but it doesn't look good for Shangri-la by the Gulf with lots of goodies built by parking revenues set waaay too low from the get go.

Deborah Jones

I still think that residents ( with proof of such) should be allowed to purchase an annual pass, and register 2 vehicles for the price of one. THEN you can raise the Annual Pass for tourists.
One of the best kept secrets is that you can go to the Parks Board office & purchase a Park Pass that allows your vehicle into all the parks, plus Seawall., for $25 a year.

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