(KFYI News) – It's official: it will likely cost you more to park in downtown Phoenix, and you'll have to feed the meter on evenings and weekends.
The city council voted 6-3 on Wednesday to approve "dynamic pricing" for parking meters downtown that will adjust parking meter rates upward or downward based on demand, and will require people parking at meters to pay for parking from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week – including holidays.
Currently, parking meters charge a flat $1.50 per hour, and payment is only required from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Evening and weekend parking is free.
The higher rates and longer hours will be phased in this fall, between August and November.
Rates will vary from 50¢ to $4.00 per hour depending on the area of downtown where the meter is located, and the demand for parking. The highest rates will apply in the area of Chase Field and US Airways Center on evenings when sporting events or concerts are scheduled at one or both of those venues. The lowest rates will apply at times, and in neighborhoods, when there's little demand for parking.
Supporters say the idea is to force turnover in on-street parking. Councilwoman Kate Gallego, who represents part of downtown, said "Businesses and residents complain about people parking at a metered stall at 5:00 on a Friday and still being there come Sunday night. And the businesses would say, this isn't doing us any good. We need to have the turnover to bring that vibrancy (to downtown)... Over and over again, we have retail stores and restaurants saying we need people to be able to get in and out (of parking that's convenient to our business). We want people to come here on weekends, and if there are people who are able to park there the entire day, we're losing out on those customers."
Opponents told the council that having to pay for parking at night and on the weekend will discourage people from coming downtown – the exact opposite of what the city is trying to promote.
In a recent survey, Phoenix was the only large city in the U.S. that allowed free parking at downtown on-street meters in the evening, and most cities also charge for metered parking on Saturdays, if not also Sundays.
The higher rates and longer hours are projected to bring in an additional $2 million per year in revenue to the city's general fund.