Archive for Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Parking meter costs to increase

July 15, 2009


City commissioners agree on parking rate hike

Parking rates will soon go up in downtown Lawrence, but not as much as once thought. Enlarge video

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Stock up on quarters, and make sure your watch is working.

City commissioners on Tuesday unanimously agreed to increase the rates at Massachusetts Street parking meters and also to raise the fine for overtime parking in downtown.

But not before a little hand-wringing.

“We need to be very careful to not do anything to turn visitors or shoppers away from downtown,” said Commissioner Mike Amyx, who owns a barber shop on Massachusetts Street.

Commissioners, though, felt comfortable enough in making some changes. Among the increases slated to begin as soon as crews can reprogram the meters sometime in August are:

• The rate for parking at Massachusetts Street meters will increase to 25 cents for a half hour. Currently, 25 cents buys one hour at the meters. Under the new rates a dime will buy 12 minutes instead of 24 minutes and a nickel will buy 6 minutes instead of 12 minutes.

• The fine for overtime parking at any meter or parking lot in downtown will increase to $3, up from $2 currently.

• Hours of parking enforcement will extend to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Currently, enforcement ends at 5 p.m.

• The city will create a new habitual violator ordinance that will allow the city to charge people who have five or more parking violations within a 30-day period a $50 fine plus court costs.

Commissioners, though, rejected two other proposals made by staff. Staff members originally had proposed reducing the amount of time on Massachusetts Street meters from two hours to 1.5 hours. Commissioners said that would not give people enough time to find a place to park and shop or dine in the downtown area without breaking to feed the meter.

Commissioners also rejected the idea of creating four new 15-minute parking meters in each block of Massachusetts Street. Commissioners said they thought those meters would create too much confusion for visitors who might believe they were pulling into a regular two-hour parking stall.

Downtown Lawrence Inc. had endorsed the increase in fines and fees, but commissioners did hear from one Lawrence resident who said the stiffer penalties could end up hurting downtown.

“Getting a ticket places a whole negative experience on your time downtown,” said Stanley Rasmussen, who encouraged commissioners to consider whether parking meters were still needed. “I could have a great experience downtown, but then get a ticket and it just poisons the experience.”

Other increases

Commissioners also unanimously approved several other fine and fee increases. Those included:

• In Municipal Court, fines for going at least 10 miles an hour over the speed limit will increase to $50, up from $38. Fines for traffic offenses such as running a stop sign will increase to $80, up from $68. Fines for various “notice to appear” parking violations will increase to $55, up from $40. The fines will be in addition to $52 in courts costs, which will remain unchanged.

• In the Parks and Recreation Department, weekend greens fees for the city-owned Eagle Bend Golf Course will increase to $25 for 18 holes, up from $23. Weekday greens fees will not increase. Cart rentals, for both weekends and weekdays, will increase to $16, up from $15 for 18 holes. At the Prairie Park Nature Center, the city will begin charging a $1 entrance fee for adults and 50 cents for children 5 to 12 years old. A $40 annual pass for families also will be offered. At the South Park Wading Pool, children will be charged a $1 entrance fee, unless the city can find a sponsor to pay for the roughly $3,000 it costs to run the wading pool each summer.

The fee for the wading pool won’t begin until next year. Fees for the golf course and Prairie Park Nature Center are expected to begin later this summer.

Other business

Commissioners on Tuesday also:

• Agreed to place on next week’s agenda a discussion about placing a fire engine in North Lawrence while construction on North Second and Locust streets takes place this summer and fall.

• Tentatively agreed to extend a maintenance agreement for the Bowersock Dam. Under the agreement, which would run to 2077, the city would continue to be largely responsible for the maintenance of the dam, which helps keep river levels high enough for the city’s Kaw Water Treatment Plant to operate properly.

• Agreed to rezone the 503 acres that make up the Lawrence Municipal Airport. The new general industrial zoning would allow for aviation-related companies to locate on the property, if the uses were approved by the city and the Federal Aviation Administration.


classclown 8 years ago

What's the fine for going 9 miles an hour over the speed limit?

Chris Ogle 8 years ago

Parking meter costs to increase, panhandlers will feel the pain....but say "we will tough it out"

Chris Ogle 8 years ago

Informed: Maybe we should offer the bums free bus rides to Club Axis. They could set up shop in the parking lot..... Two problems solved.

PANICitsme 8 years ago

What about downtown employees? Its going to cost us $4 a day to park for work! I'm not going to be able to afford to work.

RogueThrill 8 years ago

Those metered spots are for your customers.

Get a permit and park in the long term lots off Vermont or New Hampshire or park in the garage.

Or take the bus.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years ago

If you're outraged that our government owns a golf course (like I am), are you also outraged that our government owns a swimming pool?

Government needs to get out of the personal recreation business.

PANICitsme 8 years ago

I work on Vermont. Paying .75 a day is cheaper than buying a permit and I don't live in town to take the bus. But thanks for the kind advice.

Bridgett Walthall 8 years ago

So is it really $1 per child at the wading pool, or will they charge parents too? How are they going to collect the money? As is stands, there is one lifeguard who doesn't sit anywhere near the gate...I'm not sure how I'd feel about that person paying more attention to who is coming and going rather than focusing on what is happening in the pool itself... It'd be nice if the city actually does put some effort into setting up a sponsor so that the fee can be avoided. $1 isn't that big of a deal, but that little pool has been there for as long as I can remember, and I don't think they've EVER charged in the past...

thefactsare 8 years ago

$4 a day for parking....where are you parking? If you park in the 10-hour metered spaces then it's only $1 a day

deskboy04 8 years ago

I wish that it wasn't so expensive to park.

laiie430 8 years ago

Lawrence is not Chicago or New York. There are a couple million fewer people in Lawrence, and I'm guessing downtown employers are not going to adjust employee pay to compensate for the increase.

I've thought our fees have been ridiculously low for a long time, $3 is still a joke for a ticket. But downtown employees should be taken in to consideration, maybe offered a discounted bus pass or parking pass. The habitual violator fee is going to hurt.

PANICitsme 8 years ago

I'm not complaining about walking. I do park on Kentucky when space is available, but since they have redone a lot of the houses at 9th and Kentucky, space is limited. Space is limited on Tennessee as well. And I do realize people in major cities pay a lot more to park, but this is Lawrence, not NYC.

Money is tight for everyone. I made a comment on a story in a public forum. My apologies if that makes me lazy, cheap and cheating customers out of parking spots.

vermont 8 years ago

This seems too complicated. Just raise the parking fine to $5 and keep everything else the way it is. 1.5 hours is not nearly enough time to eat and shop.

chargdup 8 years ago

Just get an annual parking pass and be done with it. The cost per workday is way cheaper than feeding meters.

spiff 8 years ago

They should move the "Post a comment" box to the top to save people the time spent scrolling before posting.

people post without reading beyond the headline

d_prowess 8 years ago

Very glad they decided to leave the meters at 2 hours!

And as for the wading pool, I had always thought the person there was not actually a lifeguard, but a monitor for the facility. But either way, since it is a wading pool, I would assume that parents are watching their children closely enough that the employee there doesn't have to be a keen lookout for drowning kids!

parrothead8 8 years ago


They didn't change the time on the meters to 1.5 hours. The story clearly stated that the City Commissioners voted against that. It is still 2 hours.

malehrman 8 years ago

I think it is also important to remember that the city is currently losing money in the downtown parking department:

"In 2007, parking fees and overdue parking fines generated $898,803, but the city spent $1.01 million in parking-related expenses."

I think what will happen will be that the people who refuse to park a block and a half off Mass for free and walk will now do so and therefore vehicle traffic on Mass will decrease.

Jeanne Cunningham 8 years ago

Yet even MORE reasons to NEVER go down there unless I have to.

gsxr600 8 years ago

Keep the metered price the same, increase the parking fine to $10. Heck on campus it's $10 already for meter fines and $20 if you park in the wrong place. $3 is a ridiculous low fine.

budwhysir 8 years ago

pay to play, pay to park same thing

pace 8 years ago

Good moves by the commission. They seemed to have thought it through. I agree, parking meters should run to 9 pm.

puddleglum 8 years ago

xbus: "Informed: Maybe we should offer the bums free bus rides to Club Axis. They could set up shop in the parking lot….. Two problems solved. "

give the bums a free pass on the T, and let them set up a 'homeless camp' in the parking lot of cluube axis... Four problems solved.... :)

jjt 8 years ago

Fine = $3.00 that's not a fine, for $3.00 I can not be bothered to get up from the table. We have 2 hours plenty of time to shop have lunch what ever. Cost should be dollar an hour to park and 20 fine. To much you say if you can afford 15 a head for lunch and drive a gas gussler (like I do) well you get the point. I would love to know how much is raised from Mass St parking broken down into fee and fine.

puddleglum 8 years ago

yeah, how much is generated from the meters per month?

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years ago

Unfortunately, most of us have been conditioned since childhood to think that higher fees and higher fines are acceptable ways for government pay for itself.

We need to reduce the size, reach and rake of government by at least 20%.

cthulhu_4_president 8 years ago

"Those metered spots are for your customers. "

I must've missed the signs by the meters that say:

"Paying customers only!!! Merchants will be towed at their own expense."

Or maybe, just maybe, anyone is free to park in a public parking spot. Shocking, I know.

budwhysir 8 years ago

I for one am not worried, I know the real money comes from the fees assigned to parking in yer own driveway and you havent seen the breakdown of that yet but believe me, its included in some type of tax we pay

oliveoyl 8 years ago

I paid over $1000 in parking tickets over a span of almost a decade working it does affect the downtown employees. Not everyone can leave their shop unattended or if it's busy. I know there are hundreds of downtown employees but there should be a little relief. Not everyone can park on Ohio or afford an annual parking pass.

spiff 8 years ago


over $1000 in less than a decade is less than getting the annual parking pass?

Evan Ridenour 8 years ago

"oliveoyl (Anonymous) says… I paid over $1000 in parking tickets over a span of almost a decade working downtown…so it does affect the downtown employees. Not everyone can leave their shop unattended or if it's busy. I know there are hundreds of downtown employees but there should be a little relief. Not everyone can park on Ohio or afford an annual parking pass."

My response: There are 10 hour lots close by and a parking garage.

That is the biggest thing hurting downtown, people like you, the employees of the establishments TAKING up all of the front facing parking that should be kept free for the paying customer. Any form of increased fine aimed at preventing that class of people from taking up all of the spots will do wonders for Mass St business.

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