Drivers to pay more for some Tyler parking meters

Published on Wednesday, 25 June 2014 22:37 - Written by Kelly Gooch, kgooch@tylerpaper.com

Drivers will pay more at some Tyler parking meters once revised fees take effect later this year.

The fees are part of a newly approved ordinance that also addresses parking rates for the downtown Fair Plaza Parking Garage.

Tyler City Manager Mark McDaniel said Monday that the ordinance is an effort to establish the rates for the parking garage and examine on-street parking to ensure that it works complimentary with the garage.

Under the ordinance, the fee for street parking meters remains at 25 cents per hour with a two-hour maximum limit for most parking meters, while the fee would be 50 cents per hour with a two-hour maximum limit for street parking meters in these locations: Spring Avenue from Ferguson Street to Elm Street; Broadway Avenue from Ferguson Street to University Place; College Avenue from Ferguson Street to Elm Street; Ferguson Street from College Avenue to Spring Avenue; and Erwin Street from Bois D’Arc Avenue to Fannin Avenue, according to city council communication.

In 1984, there were about 344 meters with a rate of 25 cents per hour, and in 2006, the city reached its highest point of about 383 meters, City Engineer Carter Delleney said.

There currently are about 334, but because of some operations going on downtown, such as the jail and parking garage, there are 303 that are functioning, he said.

As construction finishes up downtown, he said the number should get back to 334.

He projects 197 meters out of 334 will go up to 50 cents per hour.

According to the city council, there will still be exceptions to parking meter fees for individuals with disabilities and veterans with disabilities, as well as exceptions to parking meter fees for Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The ordinance does add a new exception for Good Friday.

Additionally, according to the city council, the ordinance does not impact designated parking areas that don’t involve meters, such as law enforcement, loading zones, fire lanes, etc.

Delleney said the city also looked at how it could make downtown meters more convenient, so it will look at changing tops of meters, where the meters have the ability to accept credit cards.

He said the projected additional revenue from the increase to 50 cents per hour at certain parking meters will cover the cost of the new meters that will allow credit card payments.

Aside from revised parking meter fees and the Good Friday exception, the ordinance also addresses parking rates for the downtown Fair Plaza Parking Garage.

Delleney said rates for the parking garage are $1 per hour with a maximum daily rate of $5.

Individuals also have the option of paying a monthly fee of $70 per parking space per month in the parking garage via a lease agreement with the city, according to city council communication, but a separate monthly fee may be set depending on the volume of spaces leased and if the person is a tenant in the Fair Foundation Building.

Delleney said there will be two ways to get into the parking garage, one of which is via automatic vehicle identification for those who establish a monthly contract.

He said parkers without a contract would pull a ticket, the gate would open and they would pay to exit.

He said there will be a payment booth where the individual can pay via credit card or cash, as well as a pay-on- foot machine that is credit card only. Delleney said exits also will have machinery at gates that will take credit cards. He said a booth attendant will be in place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., five days a week, excluding holidays.

There is an exception to parking garage fees for those with disabilities and veterans with disabilities, and there is a fee for a lost ticket, according to the city council.

An exception to the parking garage fees will also be made for evenings, holidays and weekends, similar to the parking meter fees, McDaniel said Monday.

The hope is for the parking garage to be done by the end of July, McDaniel previously said, so people would have time to get used to parking there before rates apply.

He said the increase on the parking meters won’t happen until new equipment comes in.

Delleney said the new meter tops will have to go to bid, but he believes the new meters will be in and functioning about the same time that the parking garage starts charging, which is expected to be around Sept. 1.