The rate for parking meters around Ann Arbor will be more expensive this fall, while the price to park in a structure will be less. Parking meters may also be enforced two or three hours later than 6 p.m., the current time that enforcement stops.
The 15-cent decrease for parking structure rates will bring them down to 80 cents an hour. In return, parking meters, also 80 cents per hour, will rise to $1 per hour.
The changes — approved by the Downtown Development Authority during their July meeting and going into effect no later than Oct. 1 — have been made to sway more drivers toward parking in the structures.
“It’s essentially intended to try to encourage people to park in the structures for longer-term parking and the meters for shorter- term parking,” DDA board member Roger Hewitt said. “This now makes it so that the structures are the least expensive (parking option).”
Getting more cars in the structures instead of at meters is a priority for the city, Hewitt said, because the current systems makes it cheaper for drivers to park at an expired meter and pay their ticket within one business day rather than to park legally in a structure.
“We had a system that was sort of upside down where the cheapest place to park was to park at a meter and not put any money in it,” Hewitt said. “We’re trying to … rationalize the system.”
Another change meant to remedy this imbalance, approved by City Council in May and effective this fall, will raise the price of a parking ticket at a meter from $5 to $10, if paid within one business day. After one day, the fine becomes $15.
Engineering junior Eric Moore said he intentionally leaves his meter expired because after parking for so many hours, it is cheaper to risk getting a ticket than to pay the meter.
“I take the chance that I’m not going to get a ticket, and if I do I just figure I pay what I would in meter costs,” Moore said.
He said that he has paid over 20 parking tickets this summer, meaning more than $100 in parking tickets.
“It’s still less than what I would pay if I would constantly pay the meters all the time,” Moore said, adding that choosing to pay tickets instead of meters is also better because he does not always need to have change for the meter.
It is inconvenient to park in a structure instead of at meters, added Moore, who parks frequently on North Campus.
“There are never really that many that are that close to where I need to park,” Moore said.
The price changes for meters and structures will not bring in any additional money for the DDA.
“It’s essentially a revenue neutral approach,” Hewitt said.
Later enforcement of parking meters will be discussed again in the fall. Currently, parking structures charge in the evening while parking meters do not.