Prepare to pay when you park

March 1, 2008 5:52:57 AM PST
Nearly 200,000 people are expected to line up for a plate at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo BBQ cookoff this weekend. And that means finding a place to park will not be easy. You can't rodeo until you get to Reliant Park. This year, you have several options. If you want to park your car at Reliant Stadium, use the Main Street lot or the South Kirby lot. It will cost you $7 per car if you get there before 1pm. But after 1pm, it will cost you $12 per car.

"Twelve dollars is pretty steep," said Kimberly Smith, who is paying to park. "It will impact our ability to spend funds in there."

Rodeo officials tell us the cost of parking on Rodeo property is determined by Harris County and the Reliant Park Management Company, RMG.

"We get no revenue off parking. That all flows into our landlord and the county is our landlord," said Skip Wagner with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. "So all the parking revenue out here from the 15,000 spaces goes to the county, not the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo."

The next option is the light rail parking lot on South Fannin. Before the Rodeo arrived, parking there was $2.50. Now, it's $10 to park, then another $2 per person for a round trip ticket on the light rail. METRO officials tell us the lot is leased to Amco Parking and it's the company that sets the rate.

"We were very surprised that we had to pay to park at a park and ride," said Cathy Ponce de Leon, who was paying to park. "I didn't realize we had to do that."

You can also leave your car at four park and ride locations and take the shuttle bus. Parking is free at 9009 West Loop, as well as the park and ride at South Braeswood, also at Delmar Stadium at Highway 290 and Mangum and the Reed Road Park and Ride at Reed Road at Highway 288. If you go that route, you'll have to buy a bus ticket. The rates are $4 per person age 13 and up. It's $2 for children ages 3-12. And if your child is under 2-years-old, he or she rides for free.

There is another park and ride location. It's the Smithlands lot in the Texas Medical Center. It's $10 to park your car, but you can ride a shuttle bus for free to the Rodeo or you can pay $2 per person for a round trip ticket on the light rail line.

If you have any questions on parking at the property, here's the web site with all the information. And for everything you need to know about this year's Rodeo, check our full coverage page!

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