AUSTIN (KXAN) - As anyone driving in Downtown Austin knows, finding a convenient parking place can be quite a hassle.
Sure, there are more than 2,000 on-street parking spaces Downtown. But nearly 200 of those are reserved for valet parking. Restaurants and hotels pay $250 the entire year per space.
But city officials say the rate is long overdue for a change. This issue has been in the works for over a year.
Now, they're one step closer to finding the resolution. Recommendations to the city's Urban Transportation Commission meeting are due Tuesday night.
"With feedback from the industry and the Urban Transportation Commission, we are now proposing that we start off at 20 cents per space per hour of the year," said Gordon Derr of the Austin Transportation Department . "And then go to 40 and 60 cents over two years so there will be a gradual increase."
At the Tuesday night meeting, the city's transportation department will present its findings on upgrading the current valet ordinance for the first time since 1999.
Some Austin commuters say they couldn't believe the rates were so cheap for valet companies when parking downtown can be very expensive for drivers.
"That just seems like pennies on the dollar," said Hayden Crider, who works downtown. "Not only that it costs about $10 a day to be down here and park just to go to work."
The city also plans to use the money to hire enforcement staff, but not everyone is on board. Valet companies in town say the price hikes will be tough for business and ultimately increase the rates they charge customers. Tourist John McAtamney says the change could do more harm than good.
"Well, I don't think the city should do it because the idea is to attract people to the city and if you put the prices up people stay out and the city will die," said McAtamney, who was visiting from Australia.
A final recommendation by the Urban Transportation Commission will go before City Council at its Nov. 18 meeting for a final vote.
Update at 9 p.m.: UTC moved the staff recommendation on valet parking.
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