Downtown Bloomington could have hundreds more parking meters by this fall under a plan approved by the City Council.
The council voted 6-3 late Wednesday in favor of the plan, which was revised following opposition from local business owners worried that the meters will hurt their businesses. The plan also includes more free parking spaces and lower parking garage rates in the college town.
Mayor Mark Kruzan originally proposed installing 1,200 parking meters along streets in downtown Bloomington at a rate of $1 an hour, with 179 free spaces. The version passed late Wednesday raised the number of free spaces to a minimum of 400. That includes three free parking lots and two city garages. Currently, the city has only a few meters downtown, city spokesman Adam Wason said Friday.
The cost of part-time parking garage permits for downtown employees will also fall from $32.50 to $25 a month.
The Herald-Times reports that the city will try to recoup some of the reduced potential revenue by creating an escalating system for parking fines. And after the first three hours in some of the free parking slots, drivers will be charged 25 cents per 30 minutes.
"The message is not revenue, it's behavior," Kruzan said.
Fines for parking violations will start at $20 a ticket, but anyone who does not pay within seven calendar days will owe the city $40. Anyone who gets a second ticket in the same year will have to pay $40 — $80 if not paid within seven days. A third ticket, and any after that, would cost $100 each. But anyone who gets more than one ticket on the same day would pay the same fine for each ticket.
Kruzan said the city was on track to install the meters by Indiana University's fall semester. Officials prefer individual metering rather than pay stations covering multiple spaces.
Council member finished revising the proposal in just a couple of hours, which concerned downtown business owners and the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce who said they didn't have enough time to digest the changes.
Some council members expressed concern over the plan's impact on the poor, and John McGuigan of the Bloomington Coalition Against Parking Meters warned that his group would oppose the re-election of those who voted to pass the plan.