The $2 an hour metered parking rates Center City was hit with in January will not increase as scheduled to $3 an hour tomorrow, and some meters on the fringe of Center City will actually get rate reductions, according to a Parking Authority Press Release.
The higher rates were designed to open up parking spots on busy streets by driving some habitual meter-feeders into off-street garages. The thought was it would take $3 an hour to get there, but the PPA now says $2 is doing the trick.
"The most recent parking surveys confirmed that the rate adjustments implemented in January have achieved the goal of creating more parking opportunities," PPA Executive Director Vince Fenerty said in a statement. "As a result, we do not believe it is necessary to implement the second phase of the approved rate adjustment at this time."
It's a remarkable step for the state-run organization which - historically, at least - has embraced any and all forms of new revenue and used the funds to expand what is the biggest government patronage operation in town.
If there is a loser in this announcement, it could be the city and school district, which split the revenue generated by meters and parking tickets after the PPA has taken its own hefty cut of the proceeds to cover enforcement expenses.
The full press release follows:
Philadelphia Parking Authority Executive Director Vince Fenerty today announced that a planned increase in parking meter rates scheduled to take effect today, July 1st, will not be implemented at this time.
According to Fenerty, “rates that were scheduled to increase to $3 dollars per hour in the core of Center City Philadelphia (4th to 20th, Arch to Locust Streets) will remain at $2 per hour.”
"The most recent parking surveys confirmed that the rate adjustments implemented in January have achieved the goal of creating more parking opportunities. As a result, we do not believe it is necessary to implement the second phase of the approved rate adjustment at this time."
"Similarly, the parking vacancies in the fringe area of Center City (Spring Garden to Bainbridge Streets, between the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, except those blocks in the core), are now higher than we anticipated. In order to achieve the proper balance we will lower the hourly rate in the areas of lowest demand to $1.50 per hour."
"Affordable, convenient parking is fundamental to the economic vitality of Center City. We will continue to monitor the available parking to be sure we are setting rates that encourage people to come to Center City while insuring sufficient available parking to make that trip convenient. Rate adjustments will be made as needed to maintain that balance,” Fenerty said.
The PPA will also begin installing new multi-space meter kiosks beginning today. In addition to accepting coins and smart cards, they will also accept dollar bills, credit cards.
Fenerty said, "each of these steps are being taken to make it easier to take adva ntage of the many attractions in Center City. Other steps that are part of an improved access and mobility plan will be announced in the next few weeks."
Click here for Philly.com's politics page.