Parking meter rates to nearly double in Austin next Monday

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A week from Monday, it will be more expensive to park in Austin.

In some areas, the hourly rate for metered street parking will double. The Austin Transportation Department’s new parking rate is $2 per hour city-wide. That’s up from $1.20 per hour downtown and $1 everywhere else.

The City Council approved the rate change in its 2019-20 budget.

Part of the reason for the change is to make sure people don’t spend all day in spaces meant for people to park for only a few hours. ATD said its staff have seen numerous drivers exceeding parking time restrictions.

A 2017 report on “Downtown Austin Parking Strategy” defined a series of goals, including making sure parking is available, cost-effective and user-friendly, but also that parking is only one element of making downtown Austin accessible. The city says it’s striving to make sure one to two parking spaces are available at any time on any given block, and will adjust rates to help make that happen.

The report noted current “rates do not match the level of demand or patterns of behavior. On-street prices are lower than off-street prices. There is a direct incentive for drivers to circle and hunt for the best deal.”

At the time of the 2017 report, there were 71,504 parking spaces in downtown Austin. Nine percent, or 6,405 of those, are street parking spaces.

ATD Director Robert Spillar said the price increase “better represents the true value of street parking. It also supports the City of Austin’s goals of providing more mobility options and reducing single-occupancy vehicle trips.”

The Austin Strategic Mobility Plan outlined a goal of having 50% or more commuters use transportation other than their cars to get themselves to work, whether that’s carpooling, biking or riding the bus. In 2016, ATD launched its Affordable Parking Program so people who regularly park downtown can find more off-street parking. People can choose from 29 garages with rates starting at $30 per month. ATD says about 400 people use the program.

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