Phoenix parking meters may go up to $6 an hour

PHOENIX - Parking on the street in downtown Phoenix could soon cost you a little less, or a lot more.

That's because Phoenix city officials are considering changing the hourly rate you pay at downtown parking meters.

Right now it costs $1.50 an hour no matter where you park. Under the new proposal prices will vary depending on location and time.

City officials said parking in outlying areas could drop to as little at $0.50 an hour. Parking near the convention center or sporting venues though would go up to as much as $5 or $6 an hour.

"It used to cost a penny a minute, now it's $1.50 and hour. They want to increase that to $5 or $6 dollars and hour. That's as much as the garages so why not just park there. I think it's a terrible idea,” said Michael Burkhart.

City leaders said they are also looking at extending parking meter hours. Right now parking in most areas is free anytime after 5 p.m. and on weekends. The new proposal would extend weekday parking enforcement hours until 10 p.m. and also start enforcing meters on weekends.

Suns fan Andrew White said cutting off free weekend parking is the change he's most concerned about.

"It's ten bucks to park if you can get here before 4 p.m. If you get here past 5 p.m. it's 20 bucks and you are parking way far away. This is just going to jack up the prices even more. People want to see games but not that bad," said White.

City officials said they are considering the changes in order to raise money and encourage short term parking.

An analysis by Phoenix's transportation department said the price changes could raise an additional $1-2 million a year.

Before any of the proposals are made though, city officials want to hear from the public. Two open forums are scheduled.

The first is Wednesday from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. at the Arizona Commerce Authority at 333 North Central.

Another meeting is planned from 2 to 4 p.m. inside the Phoenix Ambassador's Office at 101 N. Avenue.

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