Saturday - May 27, 2017

Asheville parking fees to increase


smart parking meters

Revenue earned will support
aging Civic Center Parking Garage

 

Fumbling for quarters to feed that downtown parking meter? Starting April 1, you’ll need one more. No fooling. On-street parking in downtown Asheville will rise to $1.50 an hour, up from the current $1.25.

Asheville City Council voted to approve the increase during its Feb. 14 meeting. Council is also expected to raise rates at its garages effective July 1, making it $1.25 per hour to park there with the first hour still free. That action could come before Council during a March meeting, when it consider rate increases for various services for the new fiscal year that begins July 1.

Why the hike? To raise money to extend the life of the aging Civic Center Parking Garage.

“The Civic Center Parking Garage is now 40 years old and a recent structural analysis has confirmed that its service life can be extended by 30 years if we commit to spending $9 million on it over the next 30 years (which is an average of $300,000 per year),” Transportation Director Ken Putnam wrote in a staff report on proposed parking rate increases to City Manager Gary Jackson and City Council.

A structural analysis is also being done on the Rankin Avenue and the Wall Street parking garages. The Transportation Department now has a 10-year capital improvement projects plan to help address parking needs. The plan includes:

  • Replacement of existing parking meters with smart (credit card) meters;
  • Extend the Civic Center parking garage service life; and
  • Projects to modernize the elevators in the three oldest parking garages.

 

More smart meters coming

There are more than 700 on-street metered spaces in downtown Asheville. All meters are for short term parking (two hours or less, as marked) at a cost of $1.25 per hour. All meters accept coins only. You can also pay for on-street metered parking with a credit or debit card via Passport Parking by following the instructions listed on the parking meters. The metered spaces are enforced from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

In 2016, Parking Services rolled out a test site for smart meters at 35 parking spaces in the Grove Arcade area, including along Battery Park Avenue. That program is set for expansion in the next two years, with roughly half of the meters replaced this year and half in 2018. These meters do take money. But they allow people to use credit or debit cards as well. And they are more easily programmable, giving the City options such as extending enforcement hours, having the ability for variable pricing by location and/or time of the day or season, and having the ability to make parking fee rate increases effective much more quickly.

Another 1,400 spaces are available in the City’s four parking decks. Check the City’s Find Parking webpage to get real-time information on available spaces at the parking garages. The feature is also available on the Asheville App, a free app downloadable to your smartphone.

 

For more information

Read the staff report on the parking fee rate increases here.

For more information about downtown parking, visit the City’s Parking Services webpage.

 

 

 

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