Council Dems seek to raise $1M from increased parking meter collections

A proposal from City-County Council Democrats seeks to raise about $1 million annually by extending the hours in which parking meters charge fees throughout Indianapolis. The extra funds would be used to pay for more street-sweeping and efforts to tackle homelessness.

The proposal would standardize the times when parking meters charge fees across the city. It also would lengthen the times in which fees are collected on certain days and impose fees on Sundays.

If the plan is passed, all parking meters would charge fees from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays through Wednesdays, and from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. And, on Sundays, charges would be in effect from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Parking on Sundays currently is free.

Right now, meters in the city don't charge fees any later than 9 p.m. and most of them are free after 6 p.m. The city has about 3,800 metered spaces.

The proposal would do away with the city’s current parking meter zones, which all have different hours during which fees are charged. The downtown core and Broad Ripple zones have the fewest hours during which parking is free.

The proposal was introduced to the council on Monday by Council President Vop Osili and Vice President Zach Adamson, both Democrats. It has been assigned to the council’s Public Works Committee. If it advances there, the full council would be tasked with voting on it.

Osili said the proposal is a response to constituent requests to tackle two key issues. The proceeds will be split to pay for two main items: increased street-sweeping and funding to help tackle homelessness and panhandling downtown.

“It was important in order to pay for some pretty essential items our constituents have requested for a long time, one being street-sweeping,” Osili said. “It was a good solid vehicle to do that without having to raise taxes.”

The proposal calls for about half of the funds to be used to help the city increase street-sweeping from 26,000 miles annually to more than 50,000 miles, Osili said. Doing so will reduce the amount of debris that goes into the city’s drains and sewers, as well as improve the appearance of the city.

“We’re going to more than double the amount of miles that are being swept, and go to places we don’t currently go and regularizing it so there can be some predictability and some level of expectation if you live in certain areas and on certain streets,” Osili said.

The other half of the funds would tackle homelessness and panhandling downtown, a proposal that Mayor Joe Hogsett unveiled earlier in November. About $250,000 annually would be used to connect the homeless to housing, and another $250,000 would enhance public safety efforts in downtown Indianapolis.

The proposal appears to have some bipartisan support. Minority Leader Mike McQuillen told IBJ he was tentatively supportive of the plan but the “devil is in the details.” He said he thought expanding street-sweeping and funding for tackling homelessness initiatives were good ideas.

“All city streets will have an opportunity to be cleaned now,” McQuillen said.

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