Archive for Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Downtown Lawrence Inc. wants higher parking rates, fines

March 11, 2009, 11:04 a.m. Updated March 11, 2009, 4:32 p.m.


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Extra revenue generated

Estimates for how much additional revenue the proposed system may generate haven’t been made yet.

The city in 2007 issued 92,300 tickets for overtime parking in downtown. It also collected about $400,000 in fees from parking meters, although not all of that came from Massachusetts Street.

Estimates for how much the new system may increase the city’s costs also haven’t been made. It is unknown whether the city would hire more enforcement officers to cover the new hours, or would rearrange the schedules of existing workers.

Higher parking rates and fines for Downtown Lawrence may be on the way.

Members of Downtown Lawrence Inc. released details Wednesday of a parking proposal that they likely will present to city commissioners later this year.

“The city sees a need to increase its parking revenue, and we’re trying to take a proactive role instead of having the city just dictate back to us what they’re going to do,” said Bob Schumm, a downtown restaurant owner who heads the downtown committee studying the issue.

Among changes the group is proposing:

• Increase the fine for overtime parking from $2 to $3.

• Nearly double parking rates on Massachusetts Street to 25 cents per half hour.

• Reduce the time limit on Massachusetts Street meters from two hours to 90 minutes.

• Require motorists to pay the meters on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Currently, parking is free on Sundays.

• Change parking hours Monday through Saturday to capture more evening parkers. The proposal would require people to pay the meters from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Currently, the meters must be paid from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Convert two parking meters in each block to 15-minute meters. The meters would be designed to accommodate people who have a quick trip to make to a business. The special meters would carry a higher fine of $5 for people who park too long.

The proposal generally was well-received by about the dozen downtown business owners who attended Downtown Lawrence Inc.’s Wednesday morning meeting. They said the goal should be to try to cut down on the number of employees and residents who take up valuable Massachusetts Street parking spaces.

“I think this is a great idea, generally,” said Jim Bateman, an owner of the Yarn Barn. “I want to give it a try.”

Any changes to the parking system would have to win approval from the Lawrence City Commission.


John Hamm 9 years, 2 months ago

Bad move folks - except for the increase in parking fines, they should be on a par with other cities - doubling the charges and charging for Sunday? Well, I think you'll regret that with fewer parkers.

1210JayHwk 9 years, 2 months ago

Awhile ago it was $1. Now its $2. Soon it will be $3.

Upping the charge AND reducing the amount of time? AS WELL as charging on Sundays?

What's next?

I think I'm going to stay away from downtown. I'll park on Vermont or Kentucky and take the 2 minute walk instead.

Paul Geisler 9 years, 2 months ago

Extending the parking meter hours downtown beyond 5PM and adding Sunday hours are both very BAD ideas for downtown businesses! In this horrible economy do they really think that charging customers more money to park and pay parking fines is going to improve business downtown Lawrence???

Ironically, I have seen plenty of people from out of town pumping money into the meters after 5PM or on a Sunday! If I'm close enough to them I make a point to inform them that they don't need to pay the meter!

skinny 9 years, 2 months ago

That's why I shop on the internet.

  1. Items are cheaper to begin with.
  2. No parking fees or tickets.
  3. No sales tax. 4 Free shipping.

Total savings about 33%

Puff_Dragon 9 years, 2 months ago

Anyone know if the St. Pats parade is this weekend? Thanks.

Adrienne Sanders 9 years, 2 months ago

Seriously people, having to spend an extra 50 cents is going to cut short your shopping trip downtown? That's ridiculous. And the fines are ludicrously low. If they bother you so much, then pay the meter to begin with. OMG, THREE DOLLARS people! In most cities it costs more than three dollars to park at all!

I do think they should keep Sundays & holidays free.

Here's a poll question for you: Do you consider the cost of parking at all when you go downtown? No!

thomgreen 9 years, 2 months ago

If you have to feed the meters later, will that mean extended hours for parking patrol also? Wouldn't that mean the city would have to hire additional patrol people or pay overtime. If you hire another position will the increase in fines and fees actually offset the additional manpower needed to enforce those extended hours? Just thoughts.

supercowbellninja 9 years, 2 months ago

Most, not all, of the commenters on this thread need to get out of town and visit some of America's other cities. If these proposed increases are passed, we still have it better than many many other places. Let's get some perspective, people.

kmat 9 years, 2 months ago

I can't believe people are bitching about such little increases. You should have to pay to park at all times. And these rates are sooooooo low. It is very obvious that people on here haven't been to many cities outside of little Lawrence and KC. I know these are larger cities, but to give you some ideas - parking in downtown Seattle costs you $25/day. D.C. - $25-40. L.A. - $20. Most cities charge a lot more for metered parking than we do. And if you don't want to pay, then park in one of the free, 2 hour lots. If you aren't willing to do that, then you are really lazy. Two blocks away from downtown you can park on the street for free, as long as you want.

A small increase in fees won't deter me and most others from going downtown.

Get a life people. We're literally talking about cents here.

coolmarv 9 years, 2 months ago

The increase may be okay but lowering the max. time from 2 hours to 90 minutes is just a ploy to write more parking tickets/fines.

G_E 9 years, 2 months ago

I wouldn't really care if they upped the ticket fine from $2 to $3, but increasing rates and cutting back free hours? No thanks. Paying at a meter after 5:00 is just ridiculous.

Thank you, Downtown Lawrence Inc., for giving me even less of an incentive to make the trip downtown. Good job.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 2 months ago

$20 per day in Chicago is not so uncommon and Lawrence parking fines are a bargain even compared to KU I believe. Certainly compared to even KCMO.

$1.00 per hour is still a bargain.....

In St Louis a downtown Hyatt Hotel was offering $22 - $36 a day.

A roll of quarters is not a bad idea when convenience is a premium demand.

Bikes and big wheeled strollers are an alternative.

oliveoyl 9 years, 2 months ago

The problem is not having enough turnover for parking...the problem is not having customers. What is the point of doing this if you have a lack of customers. You may have your turnover but it will just be empty parking spaces on the weekdays. I can't believe that they think turnover in parking is a good idea when the daylife of downtown is dying b/c they have a lack of customers. So instead of being able to walk the length of downtown and patron local stores, people will only be able to patron a couple before they have to move their their house. People are not going to move their cars to another spot or walk 3 blocks to put another quarter in the meter...they will go home instead. I hate to be so blunt but people are lazy. I will still patron downtown like I always do and I don't really care about the hike in meter/parking fines as it is cheap to begin with but I think this will only hurt downtown b/c there are already plenty of people in this town who have their reasons why not to shop locally. Not everyone is a downtown lover like I am. What is the incentive for customers to spend their money downtown? Its more expensive, parking sucks and possibly getting worse, the retail is lacking and not to mention the economy. These are the things I would think about if I owned a business downtown. How do I get the customers in here? I can guarantee that hiking up fines and making the meter times shorter won't make it better. All the DLI is saying to customers is, "Don't come down here because we aren't worth it." You are worth it so quit pushing your customers away!

OzChicklet 9 years, 2 months ago

Oh good GRIEF! If you're too lazy to walk back to your car and put in another $0.50, just suck up the $3.00 fine and park as long as you want! 20 years ago a parking fine in Boulder, Co., was $10.00! There is free parking with no time limit on the top level of the parking garage. But, hey, you can park for FREE at Wal-mart and support that business rather than our local businesses...but you might have to walk farther to get into Wal-mart because their parking lot is so full...

Sigmund 9 years, 2 months ago

Finally I agree with merrill parking in Lawrence should cost as it does in Chicago.

townie79 9 years, 2 months ago

there is always the parking garage at 9th and New Hampshire. $1.00 for pretty much all day and the lower lever is free for 2 hours. And isn't the very top of the garage free all the time??

maybe the people that are complaining should try and pay for parking at the Kansas Union garage on campus. $1.00 per hour and the parking tickets are always about $20.00.

Jennifer Alexander 9 years, 2 months ago

Has anyone ever ventured outside of this city? The parking in a larger city (Charleston, SC) can be upwards of 50 cents for 30 minutes. And a parking ticket starts at $8, and then unpaid for 7 days jumps to $15 and so on. Stop complaining. The city is just as broke as everyone else, and they are looking for ways to make a little extra money to help improve the city. Would you rather have crossing guards fired, or close the nature center? The city is doing what they can with the resources they have.

Jersey_Girl 9 years, 2 months ago

I've wondered for ages if the current charges even cover the salary of the metermaid. It seems so uncost effective at the current rates. I can't believe how many people are complaining! I do agree the meters should be for 2 hours rather than 90 minutes, but heck, raise those rates!

Jersey_Girl 9 years, 2 months ago

Oh, and the hours are barely increasing. Currently, they are 9:30 to 5, Monday through Saturday. That's 7.5 hours a day. The new hours would be 11 to 7, Monday through Saturday, which is an increase of a whole 1/2 hour, plus the Sunday hours.

alm77 9 years, 2 months ago

Finally!! I think I said they should do this when the budget came out. Can we keep the crossing guards now?

And for all of you complaining: Seriously, this laughable increase won't deter anyone from anything. If you say you won't shop downtown, then you probably weren't going to in the first place. Remember: 2 hours FREE parking in the garage!!

Great move Lawrence! Hope it all goes through!!

Raider 9 years, 2 months ago

So if they're going to extend the time on parking meters, does that mean they're going to require stores to stay open beyond 5-6pm? I somehow doubt it.

kmat 9 years, 2 months ago

Those that are complaining probably rarely go downtown. I go down there all the time. I know lots of people that do. there are so many people downtown that it is harder than hell to find a spot on the street. This is not going to stop people from going downtown. It may make the super cheat skates park at the garage or in one of the FREE LOTS you people seem to forget exist, probably because those of you that are bitching don't go downtown often enough to realize you can park for free and only the people that are too incovienced to walk a tiny bit are the ones that have to park on the street.

The laziness of this town amazes me. It's about a mile walk from my house to downtown. I walk there all the time. If you're too cheap to pay for a metered spot, you can walk.

For the jerks saying you can't list what big cities charge, then here's what other small cities charge. Suck it.

In Topeka it's $1 per hour.

Boulder, CO it's $1.25 per hour (hmm, another college town). Fine is $15.

Ft. Collins, CO - $1 per hour. Hmmm, another college town.

kmat 9 years, 2 months ago

Actually Raider, many stores are staying open later. I'd say about half of them are now. See, so many people on here commenting that don't spend time downtown.

thomgreen 9 years, 2 months ago

Again, I'm not against the increased fees or the increased hours. I'm just curious if the additional revenue generated will cover the additional manpower needed to enforce these additional hours and higher turnover. I'm not sure what the hours are of the people currently tasked to monitor the meters, but I am assuming they already are full time employees working 40 hours. If that's the case, adding a half hour more a day, plus a full Sunday to the schedule seems like it would call for an additional person to work, either part time or full time. Also, since additional turnover in the stalls are a goal of this plan, wouldn't that mean an increase in frequency the patrols are checking the meters. In addition, wouldn't the increased patrols and increased hours lead to additional tickets, which would lead to additional court and collection cost. For some reason the law of diminishing returns keeps popping into my head.

Raider 9 years, 2 months ago

kmat, don't call me out like that. I spend time downtown. You can't make judgements on things you know nothing about. I simply asked a question. Most stores downtown close at 6pm. I simply asked if the meter hours are extended will the stores extend their hours as well.

Quit being such a whinny &%^&%.

kmat 9 years, 2 months ago

I'd say you're the whiney ass getting pissed off because I said that many of the businesses do stay open late. If you spent time downtown in the evenings, you would have noticed that. And considering that a lot of the night time business downtown is restaurants and bars, the stores don't need to stay open later.

Jeez, you must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed.

Since you don't know what you're talking about, here's some stores that stay open late and many of these have for quite some time.

Dusty Bookshelf - open til 8 Garyy Gribbles - open til 7 Raven Books - open til 8 Signs of Life - open til 11 Jock's Nitch - open til 7 Shark's - open til 8 Sunflower - open til 7 Third Planet - open til at least 8 Waxman - open til 7

That's the one's I know of off hand. That's not counting the chain stores that are always open late (Gap, AE, Britches, Claires, Buckle, Maurices, Urban Outfitters).

Jersey_Girl 9 years, 2 months ago

I think the extended meter times are more for those dining/drinking downtown in the evenings than those shopping. The few times I've tried to go downtown after work, either to shop or dine, I can never find a parking space, so as far as I'm concerned, they might as well be making money off of them.

OzChicklet 9 years, 2 months ago

Excellent point thomgreen.

And you know, I bet if all those greedy owners of inherited buildings downtown would make the rent more reasonable, as it should be for a "town", that the business owners downtown could offer more competitive pricing on their goods. As a former renter of downtown space for a retail business, I can attest to this.

kmat 9 years, 2 months ago

Just google it.

There are 6 total employees. Only one monitors meters right now, but I'm sure they'd change one of the other employees over to help.

oliveoyl 9 years, 2 months ago

Well said Pywacket...although I personally love our downtown. Most of the time when you can't park it is in the evening, when there is a game or maybe on a weekend if its nice. What about the weekdays? I've watched way too many retail businesses go under b/c people in this town don't support it. Like I said before, people in this town already have too many excuses not to shop downtown...they don't need another excuse. Yes, its not a big hike but think about the psychology of business. We live in Lawrence, KANSAS. Not rich towns like Boulder. Everything is relative.
Our nightlife will always be successful. People will always eat out and drink...they won't necessarily shop. Trust me, I've had first hand experience and a front row seat watching a beloved downtown business go under. Either way, I'm still going to support downtown...$3.00 tickets or not because it is important to me. Downtown ISN'T important to the masses of Lawrence and they don't need another excuse not to shop there.

oliveoyl 9 years, 2 months ago

Not to sound like a broken record but the ones on here that don't think this is a big deal, like myself, are obviously supporting try and put yourselves in the shoes of someone who doesn't or at least doesn't that often. IT does make a difference. I'm not even remotely worried about the restaurants or bars because the nightlife thrives...its the retail I'm worried about.

BigPrune 9 years, 2 months ago

Why create drama just to shop at a particular place?

Why I like to shop at The Legends?

I don't have to pay to park and I don't have to pay a fine if I stay too long.

Dumb move Downtown Lawrence, Inc.

CrazyDiamond 9 years, 2 months ago

kmat says: It may make the super cheat skates park at the garage or in one of the free lots you people seem to forget exist...

LMAO! Someone please tell me what a "super cheat skate" is.

RoeDapple 9 years, 2 months ago

Goodbye downtown, hello Walmart on 6th!!!

Tell me again how much you want more business downtown....

feeble 9 years, 2 months ago

Power and Light district parking is $2 w/ parking validation or during events. There is also $8 valet parking +tip. I believe all day parking is $10.

$0.50 is a steal, seriously.

BigPrune 9 years, 2 months ago

Power & Light District and Downtown Lawrence.....let's see. The Power & Light District has the Sprint Center, Downtown Lawrence has the Masonic Temple. No comparison, uh sorry, just kidding, Downtown Lawrence has Freestate Brewery. I love the robotic T-Rex as you enter the restaurant...uh, sorry, just kidding, that's at The Legends where the parking is free.

BAD move Downtown Lawrence, Inc.

From the lowest rent district in Lawrence 10 years ago to the highest rent district in Lawrence. Let's see, what exactly has changed? Just about nothing, really.

RoeDapple 9 years, 2 months ago

"Let's see, what exactly has changed? Just about nothing, really."

except the cost to park?

Hoots 9 years, 2 months ago

If anything they need to increase the time I can buy on a meter. I don't want to have to babysit my meter all the time. Who wants to have to get up during a long lunch with a friend to feed the meter. They actually need to make it a 3 hour meter. Dumb idea folks. 1 1/2 hours goes by very fast.

corduroypants 9 years, 2 months ago

I hate to give away all my secrets, but you can park a block off Mass in the long-term lots for a buck...for 10 freakin' hours.

Now, ignore this post because I live downtown and don't need you taking my space.

pissedinlawrence 9 years, 2 months ago

Hell my rent just went up too, but you can bet my payrate is the same.

Sharon Aikins 9 years, 2 months ago

I can get everything I might need from downtown someplace else with free parking, easier access for the handicapped and better prices. I quit going to downtown restaurants because, quite frankly, I'm afraid to go down there after dark. I don't remember when I was last there. I use a walker and it's hard to park near wherever I wanted to go, let alone get into some of those older buildings. Mostly I use the internet where stuff is delivered to my door and I still save money over going downtown for the same items. I guess my complaint would be that they keep coming up with more ideas to make it a less desirable place to be and wonder why we don't come there.

50YearResident 9 years, 2 months ago

The surest way to lose 2 parking spaces in every block is to do this........ "• Convert two parking meters in each block to 15-minute meters. The meters would be designed to accommodate people who have a quick trip to make to a business. The special meters would carry a higher fine of $5 for people who park too long." I suggest taking a stop watch to time how long it takes to park, exit the car, pop into 1 store to make a purchase and return to the car. It can't be done in 15 min so these spots will be empty all day long.

momofk 9 years, 2 months ago

Wow Larence! Apparantely you don't need business! It's not the increase that is really the problem-it's making sure you have that much extra change in your wallet. I usually don't "plan" on going downtown, I just am in the area and end up going there to walk with my daughter and I end up buying at least one thing. I don't usually have that much change so I only stay for the amount of change I have. If I have to make trips back to the car knowing that the meter will expire earlier I just won't be shopping for that long-I may stop going to mass alltogether. It's almost a waste of time. I'd rather go to the mall in OP where parking is free and there are way more stores to shop at. For walks, I guess I will just walk around my neighborhood and save money on not having any impulse buys. Thanks Lawrence for proving your point that all this city cares about is money-even in these times. :(

Matthew Herbert 9 years, 2 months ago

I'd love to see fines raised. I much prefer the city to be financed at the hands of lawbreakers rather than taxpayers.

alm77 9 years, 2 months ago

momofk, if you go there to walk anyway, why don't you park in the free garage? I doubt you walk for more than 2 hours.

Honestly, I'm not convinced that 2 hours is enforced or at least, by the time she comes by to mark my tires with chalk, my car has already been there a while.

kmat 9 years, 2 months ago


Let's just see if downtown goes bust because parking rates just went up a tiny little bit. Those of us that frequent downtown will continue to go anyways.

Maybe I'd see a lot less obese people if you all parked a couple blocks away for free and walked to places downtown.

The people here are showing laziness at it's finest.

Pywacket - many people have to walk a distance to get into their work. Big deal!!!! It's exercise. Tell your husband to buy a permit for the garage and walk a couple blocks. It's called exercise. If I get to work late and there are no more spots in our lot, I have to park away and walk a couple of blocks. Big deal.

momofk 9 years, 2 months ago

Reality_Check: I would rather pay for gas than pay to park. When I go to Overland Park I do more than just go to the mall there. As for a different atmosphere, I love to walk where there isn't the smell of cigarettes everywhere. There are way too many hippies on mass and too many smokers! So yes, I do like the atmosphere better at the mall. I am used to driving anyways, growing up in Baldwin-that's what you do is drive everywhere.

alm77: I do actually walk for 2 hrs. Last week I was down there for 3. Do you not think people can walk that long? Maybe more people should try so the obesity rate goes down. :) As for parking garages-I don't like them and I don't park on that side of mass. Thanks for your help tho.

quimby 9 years, 2 months ago

I know there are a lot of naysayers here, but I want to let DLI know that there are many of us who are in full support of this plan. Out of town visitors are flabbergasted at how cheap it is to park downtown - These fares have been in need of an increase for many years. Not only will this help with some budget issues (which, in turn, will assist in keeping downtown a great place), but it will also get people to perhaps leave their vehicles at home and walk, bike, or take transit downtown instead. Please keep pushing forward on this DLI, and make sure you show the City Commissioners what our peer cities are charging, so that they can see we're way behind. It's time for folks to freakin wake up and stop relying on our cars so much. Raising fees is a step towards getting people to think about other ways to get around (which could increase activity levels and many other benefits)...

Budgets_Smudgets 9 years, 2 months ago

What Quimby said. And worth repeating:

Out of town visitors are flabbergasted at how cheap it is to park downtown - These fares have been in need of an increase for many years.

Staci Dark Simpson 9 years, 2 months ago

I think its a bad move. I love downtown Lawrence but don't go there as often due to parking. I hate paying to park so I park off of Mass most of the time. If they are going to raise the price raise the time to 3 hrs not lower to 1.5. There are some vacancies downtown so I think raising parking could affect more. Legends is close to me and parking is free on the plaza also. Lawrence is great but I don't think they can charge city prices for parking

oliveoyl 9 years, 2 months ago

Man you people don't get it. You are being way too idealistic. It WOULD be great if people were to get off their asses and walk, bike or at least park a couple of blocks away...I do it, some will do it but the MASSES won't because they are LAZY. Lets get back to the reality that there is only a small percentage of people who cater to downtown and that small percentage won't care about the small hike but those that don't come down as often will just see this as another reason why they won't shop there. Lets be more realistic here people. Do downtown business owners want a small percentage or do they want to bring in new customers? The small percentage of people can't carry downtown forever.

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