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.