The city on Jan. 1 doubled the rate, from $1 to $2 per hour, that the Philadelphia Parking Authority charges for metered spaces in Center City.
A second increase, to $3 per hour, had been planned to start yesterday but was put on hold.
The increases were meant to reduce the number of drivers who park their cars all day at meters. That lack of meter turnover adds to traffic congestion.
The city wanted meters for short-term parking and hoped to push drivers to use lots or garages for all-day parking.
It worked. Actually, it worked a little too well on the edges of Center City, where the authority is now dropping the meter rate from $2 to $1.50 per hour because so many parking spaces opened up.
The authority defines Center City as 4th to 20th streets and Arch to Locust streets. The outer area where the rate will drop to $1.50 goes from Center City north to Spring Garden Street and south to Bainbridge Street, and between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers.
Rina Cutler, deputy mayor for transportation and utilities, said that the city would not consider going to $3 per hour for meters until the authority installs multispace- meter kiosks, allowing drivers to use dollar bills, credit cards and debit cards.
"We're not expecting people to walk around with rolls of quarters in their pockets," she said.