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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

ParkWise considers raising on-street parking rates in downtown Tucson

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Kyle Wasson / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Reduced on-street parking along the streetcar route has led ParkWise, Tucson’s parking management and enforcement program, to consider raising parking rates in downtown to match the cost of parking in a garage.

The mayor and council asked ParkWise to make a recommendation to consider raising parking meter rates in order to push people to use parking garages in the downtown area, with the idea that downtown employees and others who use on-street parking for long periods of time would start using garage parking.

Then more on-street parking would available for customers who only need to use a parking meter for a short period of time.

“That way customers can find parking when and where they need it,” said Donovan Durband, ParkWise program administrator.

Tucson’s meter parking is cheaper than comparable cities in the southwest, Durband said.

The recommendation also suggests that people pay for parking after 5 p.m. and on Saturdays based on demand.

“I at least expect to be able to park for free on nights and weekends,” said Brittany Schultz, a psychology freshman.

A two-page recommendation will be presented to the mayor and council for discussion in the beginning of November, according to Steve Kozachik, the city’s Ward 6 council member. Meter rates will increase from 50 cents to 1 dollar, effective after streetcar construction is done, if the proposal is approved.

“I think people might get annoyed and maybe slowly stop parking here, but I don’t think it’ll make a big difference,” Schultz said.

Streetcar stops will make for less on-street parking after construction. On Congress Street and Broadway Boulevard, the stops will be on the side of the road, taking up some of what used to be parallel parking.

On Fourth Avenue, University Boulevard and Second Street, all two-way streets, the streetcar will stop at an island in the middle of the street, which will narrow the travel lanes. Parking on University Boulevard between Tyndall Avenue and Park Avenue, which was once back-in parking, has already been changed to parallel parking.

Kozachik said many merchants support the proposal and believe that raising rates will help push people to use the garages.

“He [Durband] has my full support,” Kozachik said. “I’m really interested in the kind of suggestions he brings forward.”

Talks about installing meters on Fourth Avenue have been in progress for a long time as well, according to Craig Wilson, owner of Creative Ventures. Although it’s not in the parking rates recommendation, Durband said parking meters on Fourth Avenue are going to happen.

“It might not be such a bad thing in that it turns over the traffic a little bit,” Wilson said.

Durband said he doesn’t think higher rates will keep people from visiting downtown because there won’t be a significant change.

“We’re not talking huge amounts of money,” Durband said. “I don’t think 50 cents is going to be a deterrent.”

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