Parking meter rates increase in downtown Chattanooga - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Parking meter rates increase in downtown Chattanooga

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Downtown Chattanooga parking meter rates have been raised from $0.75 cents/hour to $1/hour. The new rate took effect on September 1. But that's not the only change. 

Evening meter times are being extended an additional 1.5 hours, until 6 p.m. Drivers will also be required to pay parking meters on Saturdays during normal enforcement times.

While that's not a huge fee increase, some folks who come downtown say the costs add up.

 "I park every single day, so that's a lot of money," said Andrea Brown.

During the week, Brown makes a daily trip from Dalton to downtown Chattanooga.

"I'm commuting 45 minutes anyway, so that's a lot of gas and a lot to park. I'm here from 11 to 7 every day, so I park on the street using the parking meters," she said.

With the new rates, Brown's parking fees are jumping from $6 to $8 daily. That means putting aside $40 dollars per week and $160 per month to park at one of the city's 2,100 downtown street meters.

"Unless the place has a parking spot or parking lot, it can be hard. I had to park way down there," Brown explained.

According to CARTA, the new fees help fund parking-related projects, like curbside credit card machines, the Parkmobile app that lets you pay to park on your smartphone, and building more parking garages in the future.

Residents say finding an open space on the street can already be tough enough.

"It's kind of hard. You drive around three or four times trying to find a parking spot," said Andy Floyd, who works downtown.

While CARTA says the Saturday rates are aimed to keep more spaces "turning over", not everyone is excited to pay more for a day downtown.

 "They want people to come downtown, and do stuff downtown. Don't make them pay for parking. They're already paying to do what they want to do when they get down here," Floyd said.

 Although the new rates took effect on Tuesday, drivers have somewhat of a "grace period" with the new rates. Drivers will receive warnings instead of tickets until full enforcement of the new fee takes effect on October 1.

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