Led by the recommendations of a nationwide parking consultant, Walker Parking Consultants, city officials are considering lower rates for city-owned garage spots and low-demand parking meters.
Right now, “Our system is just broken,” said City Traffic Engineer Todd Pfitzer. “The highest demand spots are free, and the lowest demand ones cost the most. It’s completely backwards.”
The consultant’s recommendations:
* Lower rates at city-owned garages to a flat $2 rate on weekdays, and $3 on Fridays, Saturdays after 6 p.m. and event nights. Parking at city-owned garages near the Old Market now costs anywhere from $5 to $8.
* Consider eliminating time limits on how long cars can be parked at meters.
* Decrease hourly meter rates in low-demand areas by 25- to 50-cent increments.
* Improve signage for city garages.
* Adjust meter enforcement hours to begin at 10 a.m. and run as late as 9 p.m. on weekdays. Meter enforcement would also extend to Saturdays.
* Increase meter rates in the Old Market to as much as $2 per hour or more, if credit card readers are installed and parking time limits are dropped. Currently, the highest meter rate downtown is $1 an hour.
* Consider a “graduated system” of parking ticket fines that range from $10 to $50. Tickets cost $16 now, not including possible late fees.
* Attach credit card devices to parking meters.
More tidbits from the study to come.