Raise the rates for downtown metered parking, it’s long overdue. Fifty cents is not too much to pay to park for an hour in a prime parking space.
The Board of Public Safety and the Fort Wayne City Council should approve a proposal from the parking enforcement department to double the parking fees at downtown meters from 25 cents to 50 cents an hour.
To say Fort Wayne has suppressed rates would be an understatement, said Colin Keeney, the parking enforcement supervisor.
This summer, Keeney did a survey of the parking fees and fines in other Midwest cities similar in size to Fort Wayne, including Toledo, Cleveland, Grand Rapids and Lansing. Pretty much across the board the rates were $1 an hour, he said.
The fines were also higher than in Fort Wayne.
Parking illegally at a metered spot garners a $5 ticket with the fine doubling to $10 if it’s not paid within 30 days.
The fines in the surveyed cities were typically $20 to $30.
City officials also want to double the cost of a ticket for a parking meter violation from $5 to $10 with the fine increasing to $20 if the ticket is not paid within 30 days.
Keeney also found that the fine for illegally parking in a space set aside for people with disabilities in Fort Wayne is much less than in the other communities surveyed. Those fines were drastically higher, he said.
In Fort Wayne, the fine for parking in handicapped parking space without a placard is $50 with an additional $25 tacked on if you fail to pay the ticket within 30 days. The other cities surveyed had fines that were in the $150 to $300 range.
City Attorney Carol Helton said the city administration is looking at all the fees and fines, but still needs to research the issue of increasing the fine for illegally parking in a handicapped space. We haven’t made that decision yet, she said.
Many people have suggested that city parking control officials should consider newer technology that allows patrons to use credit cards to pay for metered parking. But Keeney said those improvements are cost prohibitive with the current parking revenue. Raising the rate would open up the possibility of taking advantage of some of that newer technology.
It may make it easier to swallow a rate increase if people know there are some tangible benefits on the backside, Keeney said.
Parking officials have tried to raise the rates before with little success. The safety board plans to discuss the proposal at its next meeting. The resolution also needs approval from the City Council. The cost to park at a metered space downtown is ridiculously low. The board and City Council should approve the increase.