PARKING METER HOURS EXTENDED TO 9 P.M., ENFORCEMENT TO BEGIN MAY 29
(5/11/2012) Transportation, Traffic & Parking Department workers have begun adjusting parking signs to reflect the extension of meter hours to 9 p.m. To accommodate the need for longer term parking in the evening, time limits will be lifted after 5 p.m. to grant customers the flexibility to pay up to the full remaining time. The City will begin enforcing the new extended meter hours on Tuesday, May 29.
The Traffic Authority had initially approved extending meter hours to midnight, but based on feedback from downtown businesses the City elected to pursue meter hours only to 9 p.m. While extending meter hours is expected to generate $300,000 to $400,000 in new annual revenue, the new hours will benefit more than just the City’s budget.
“Downtown is no longer just a day time destination, and our parking policies must reflect that. Approximately 13 percent of downtown parking is metered, as opposed to surface lots and garages. What we found is that after 5 p.m., many of the metered parking spaces were being taken by employees, leaving few available spaces for customers. Extending meter hours will encourage the kind of parking turnover that is necessary to support downtown businesses,” said Jim Travers, Director of Transportation, Traffic & Parking.
“Downtown merchants had reservations about the midnight extension, but we feel 9 p.m. is a good compromise. It is counterintuitive, but extending meter hours is an important component of encouraging parking turnover. This helps ensure that more spaces will be available to customers when they come downtown,” said Win Davis, Acting Director of the Town Green Special Service District.
“We are primarily an evening business, and it is important to guests to have good parking options. Extending meter hours to 9 p.m. will help free up spaces for our customers, and will be good for business,” said John Ginetti, owner of 116 Crown.
Town Green has worked closely with the City on outreach to downtown merchants and customers regarding the parking changes. Town Green Downtown Ambassadors will continue to assist with public outreach over the next few weeks.
Last January, over 900 new meters with credit card capability were installed downtown. Credit card usage on those new meters has increased each month. In April, 43 percent of customers elected to use a credit card. Overall meter revenue is also expected to increase 22 percent this year to $4.9 million, largely due to the introduction of credit card. The City will install 400 to 500 new credit card meters this summer in the Whitney Avenue business district and medical district.
“The new credit card meters have been great for customers. I hear positive comments from customers who say it is now easier and more convenient to pay,” said Tracy Bonosconi, owner of Tracy B Boutique on Chapel Street.
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