Lawrence city commissioners Tuesday approved a routine set of rates for the new Vermont Street parking garage, but also said they want to study some higher-tech options in the future.
Commissioners at their weekly meeting said they want a report that looks at issues such as how smart phones could be used as part of the city’s parking system. For example, some cities have parking meters that will send a message to a smart phone before the time on a meter is set to expire. Some systems also let motorists pay for parking via their smart phones.
But any upgrade in parking technology likely would have to be funded through increased parking fees, commissioners were told. Commissioners said that would be a change they would have to consider carefully.
“We need to be very careful that we don’t price ourselves out of the business,” said City Commissioner Mike Amyx, who also is a downtown business owner.
As for the rates for the new city parking garage in the 700 block of Vermont Street, commissioners unanimously agreed to allow free two-hour parking on the lower level, and 10-hour parking for $1 on upper levels. The roof level of the garage will offer free, 10-hour parking.
Commissioners, though, rejected a recommendation from staff members to begin charging for long-term parking on the roof of the city parking garage near Ninth and New Hampshire streets. The city wants to keep the roof level free until at least June, while construction is underway near Ninth and New Hampshire streets.
In other news, commissioners:
• Received a donation of $4,925 from Black Hills Energy to help offset the purchase price of a new trash truck that is fueled by compressed natural gas.
• Unanimously approved an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation that transfers full maintenance responsibilities of Sixth Street between Wakarusa and the South Lawrence Trafficway to the city.