Parking meter changes upset downtown Phoenix customers

PHOENIX - Last weekend was the last chance to park for free at meters in Phoenix.

Beginning Monday, meters will be in effect from 8 a.m. through 10 p.m. every day, including weekends and holidays.

Then, meter rates will change in November to a variable rate.

Hourly rates will range from $0.50 to $4.00, depending on location and demand.

The city's website says the goal is to encourage turnover in the meters, cars staying for less time.

The current rate is $1.50 per hour, effective Monday through Friday 8 a.m. through 5 p.m.

The changes were approved as part of the city's budget process.

When the changes were proposed, City Manager Ed Zuercher told ABC 15 that the goal of the budget was to ask for small sacrifices from a wide range of groups, instead of large sacrifices from few groups.

But several people in downtown Phoenix Saturday night are afraid what will be sacrificed in the changes is growing vibrancy in downtown.

"The downtown is starting to blossom," said Dana Bowerbank, who parked at a meter to eat at a restaurant on 1st Street.

"I think having something that might deter people [from coming downtown] is a real bummer, because we're just getting to the point where it's fun to be down here."

The revenue from meters goes to the city's general fund, which is used to pay for a variety of expenses across the city.

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