Los Angeles’ Getty Center is free; it’s parking at the remote hilltop facility that costs, and apparently on purpose. After the Getty raised its parking fees over the summer, protests broke out among academics who use the facility regularly. Enterprising journalists examined the institution’s tax returns, which revealed that the institution, with perpetually free admission written into its charter, collected $6.4 million in parking fees in 2011, up from $4 million in 2009, when the museum raised it’s parking rate to $15 to help increase revenues.
The planned expansion of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts places a new building squarely on top of the only convenient free parking lot for visitors to the museum. How much new parking revenue will the MFAH garner by making itself less accessible?