AUSTIN (KXAN) — Parking in downtown Austin can be hard to come by, which is why the city wants to extend paid metered parking to include Wednesday nights.
In a city memo issued earlier this month, the Austin Transportation Department says they want to include Wednesday nights because it would help create more parking turnover to increase parking availability. Currently, people are required to pay the meter during the following times:
- Monday-Wednesday: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Thursday and Friday: 8 a.m. – midnight
- Saturday: 11 a.m. – midnight
- Sunday: Free
In 2015, ATD conducted parking surveys and found metered parking was occupied at 97 percent of capacity during daytime parking hours and above 85 percent of capacity on Wednesday nights in many areas. In May 2016, the city raised parking rates from $1 per hour to $1.20 per hour in an effort to increase turnover, but the Downtown Austin Alliance says, “at most times, on-street parking is underpriced.”
When the city implemented metered evening parking in 2011, staff estimated that 6,000 more customers had access to on-street parking per night than previously recorded, which means drivers were roughly three times more likely to find street parking.
In an effort to make sure people who work in the service and entertainment industry in downtown Austin have access to affordable parking, ATD implemented the Affordable Parking Program last spring. Eligible employees are able to purchase a night-time parking pass at the Waller Creek Center garage, located at 10th Street and I-35, for $35 per month, instead of paying on-street parking costs.
The Transportation Department expects to present the item to city council for approval in early 2017.