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Extending Downtown Parking Meters Until Midnight (Including Saturdays)

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Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News
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The City of Austin will start charging until midnight for downtown parking starting in August.

Starting in August, people who park downtown will have to keep plugging the meters until midnight, including on Saturdays. Austin City Council voted 6-to-1 Thursday in favor the new policy.  Council member Laura Morrison was the lone holdout. Meters outside downtown will have their hours extended from 8 am until 6 pm. Currently, they run from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.

The change was made on this recommendation from the city's Transportation Department, which said extending parking meter hours would "increase turnover of on-street short-term parking in central Austin during active use times." The Transportation Department said it would also bring in an estimated $4.2 million in additional revenue annually. The new hours will take effect in August, but an exact date has not been chosen.

City staff suggested extending parking meter hours in spite of a city survey that found most people would rather walk for blocks than pay for parking. The same survey found 81 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to come downtown if the city extended meter hours.

It's probably not surprising then, some people are already expressing outrage.  But changing meter hours has strong support from the Downtown Austin Alliance, which is pleased that 40 percent of the money will go into improving downtown amenities.

The change takes effect in August and is expected to generate more than $4 million in additional revenue annually. KUT's Nathan Bernier and Torrie Hardcastle went downtown and asked people what they thought about extending meter hours.

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