New Haven proposes parking meter changes in hopes to free up spaces

NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) – New Haven knows finding a spot downtown can be a challenge.

That’s why the Elm City is looking at revamping the prices of its parking meters, with the hope of freeing up some in-demand spots.
Parking spots in premium zones would go up a quarter, while other areas downtown, where the demand is less, would see the price drop.
When it comes to feeding the meter, it turns out some parking spots in downtown New Haven eat a lot better than others.

“Every time I come down here I just can’t get a parking spot period. It takes forever, so normally I have to circle the block a couple of times before I can park,” said Allen Futrell of New Haven.

Spots by the green fill up quickly and free ones can be hard to come by.

“You can never find a spot on the street if you just want to stop for a minute to run in someplace. You end up parking in a garage in no man’s land and walking all the way back,” said Kelly Stokes of Cheshire.

The Elm City thinks adjusting the prices you pay at the meter, specifically paying a little more to park in premium, in-demand spots, like those by the green or on Crown Street, will change that.

“Our goal is to have parking available for when you come to town, make sure it’s easy, convenient, and payable,” said Doug Hausladen of New Haven Transportation, Traffic and Parking.

Right now, to park at a meter in downtown New Haven costs $1.50 an hour.

New Haven’s Parking and Transportation working group is looking at a three-year pilot program which would adjust meter prices every three months.

Premium zones, would go up a quarter, with the idea that raising the costs would make parking easier, since drivers won’t stay there as long, and open more frequently.

Where there’s less demand, like in the areas of the Audubon Arts Center, Elm Street, and the Government Center at night, that would be a discount zone where the meters would cost less.

“When you’re too crowded, you’re not charging enough. When you’re not crowded, you’re charging too much. So, for us, to lower the parking with discounting with discount zones and increase parking with premium zones, we hope to get that magic number of 85 percent of our parking occupied,” Hausladen said.

Then every three months the city would be able to look at the data of which meters are being used and adjust rates for certain zones.
“If it would free up the parking areas, it would be a good idea,” Futrell said.

This program is something that’s already done in Seattle.

Before this becomes a reality in New Haven, the Board of Alderman needs to sign off on the price increase. Also, the Traffic Authority needs to give its approval and the hope is to roll out the program in July.

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