It’s going to be cheaper to park in most of the city’s downtown parking decks starting Tuesday, as long as you don’t stay too long.
The rate at seven of the nine city-owned decks will drop from $2 to $1.50 per hour for the first four hours. After four hours, the rate goes back up to $2 an hour, up to a daily maximum of $14. That’s $2 more than the current daily max.
The change is meant to encourage people to use the parking decks rather than metered spaces on the street, city officials say.
It currently costs $1 to $1.25 an hour to park on the street downtown, including in Glenwood South and along Hillsborough Street near N.C. State University. Those rates will rise 25 cents an hour in phases, starting along Hillsborough Street later this month, according to spokesman Rob Murray.
The on-street rate increases will coincide with installation of new parking meters, which will have a larger, color screen and will accept coins, cards and the Passport parking app. With the new meters, people will enter their license plate number rather than the space number. (Murray says the parking meter software deletes license numbers at the end of the day, unless you get a ticket, in which case your license number will be kept for 30 days.)
As the meters are installed, the city also will extend the hours people must pay to park on the street. Up to now, metered parking ends at 5 p.m. on weekdays. That will change to 8 p.m. along Hillsborough Street and 6 p.m. in the central business district and along Glenwood South. For now, the meters won’t be enforced on weekends.
Among the other changes starting Tuesday, the city will charge a flat $10 to park in its decks for concerts and other special occasions, up from the old rate of $7. City officials say one goal of the increase is to get cars into the deck faster, because attendants won’t have to handle $1 bills.
And finally, the charge for a “lost ticket” in the decks is going from $12 to $25. That change is meant to discourage people from parking in the deck more than a day or two and claiming to have lost the ticket to save money.
The new parking rates apply to all of the city-owned decks except two. The rates in the Convention Center underground garage and the Performing Arts Center deck will remain $3 per hour, up to a daily max of $15.