Downtown Phoenix parking meters expand hours, issue warnings

(Amanda LaCasse/DD)
Downtown Phoenix’s new parking meter hours expanded to 10 p.m. every night, including weekends. While regular downtown visitors are upset by the change, local business owners are less concerned. (Amanda LaCasse/DD)

A car parked along Third Street and Fillmore Street has a white piece of paper stuck under its windshield wiper. It reads: “WARNING ONLY” citing Section 36-154—a parking meter violation.

The sheet of paper was a warning, but it marks a change to the downtown Phoenix area.

Effective Aug. 18, the city of Phoenix announced it would extend parking meter hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Previously, metered parking ran from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, and was free at other times and on weekends.

Currently, violators of the new hours are receiving warning fliers, notifying them of the change. Future fines will cost $70, but will be reduced to $50 if paid within 21 days of being fined, according to the city of Phoenix website.

“If you come here on a regular basis I can see how it’d be very annoying,” said June Burton, a moviegoer on her way to the AMC theatre on Third Street. “It makes you not want to come downtown for stuff like this.”

Burton said she was unaware of the changes to the metering system and was frustrated that the city gave no notice on the meters themselves to let people know.

“I live in Midtown, but I understand the city is strapped for cash for services,” said Patrick O’Hara, a regular visitor to Phoenix. “It’s a bummer, but there seems to be a return involved and I can deal with that.”

ASU Police Officer Sgt. Bryan Epps expressed his frustration with the parking meter changes, explaining that he had to move his car from one lot to another to cut down on the cost of parking to perform his job.

“It’s stupid that I have to pay to go to work now,” he said.

While drivers in the area seem upset, local Roosevelt Row business owners and employees seemed unfazed by the changes.

“We have our own parking lot so it’s not that big of a deal,” said Jared Cox, store manager of Revolver Records.

Cox also mentioned that the expansion of sidewalks on Roosevelt would promote more pedestrian and bike traffic in the area.

Similarly, Jason Anthony of Golden Rule Tattoo said it wouldn’t affect his business much due to his specialized field.

Some members of the local business community, like Short Leash Hot Dogs co-owner Kat Moore, believe the change will encourage more traffic to their restaurants.

Moore said the parking meter changes “create movement” and ensure there aren’t cars taking up valuable space.

Moore said she has to monitor her restaurant’s parking lot already because a downtown Phoenix employee was parking his car there, using a parking space meant for customers. She also said that she believes the changes to the meters will encourage drivers to use alternative transit like bikes and the light rail system.

Additionally, the city is planning to implement demand-based pricing for parking on certain streets where festivals and other popular events downtown will occur. These variable prices will range from 50 cents to $4, according to the website.

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