Visitors to high-traffic University of Minnesota areas may need to carry extra change to meet the city's increased parking fares.
The City of Minneapolis raised parking meter rates in Dinkytown and Stadium Village last month and is looking to do the same in other busy neighborhoods in coming weeks. The effort is meant to close the gap between off-street and metered rates.
The rate increases emerged as a result of the latest city-wide parking review, said Tim Drew, Minneapolis parking system manager. The evaluation showed parking in the University area has a high usage rate during the school year, and on-street parking rates are often cheaper than ramps or garages.
Drew said the increase aims to encourage students and workers, who often park for longer than the legal time limit, to park off-street, leaving metered spots for visitors and customers.
“We don’t want people parking at meters if they’re going to be working there or a student there. We’d rather have them in the off-street [parking], the meters are for the businesses,” Drew said.
Parking in Dinkytown went up from $1.25 to $2.00 an hour. Stadium Village, which had meters charging $1.25 and $1.50 an hour in different areas, now is uniformly priced at $2.00.
The Minneapolis parking app can be used to get around the metered time cap. The City plans to combat violations with license plate recognition, Drew said.
Cheaper parking may attract those who would otherwise bike or use public transportation to drive and park for a long time, said Ward 3 Council member Steve Fletcher.
“The idea is to match the cost to people’s perception of what would make them not use the space if they don’t need to, so then more parking spaces will be available to people,” Fletcher said.
Adding new meters in Stadium Village resulted in rate and time limit variance throughout the area. According to Drew, the new $2.00 per hour cost is meant to alleviate confusion and make pricing consistent.
“We went from nine different rates before around the University, to basically one [rate],” said Drew.
Mike Mulrooney, who owns Blarney Pub & Grill in Dinkytown, isn't convinced price hikes will discourage people from going over the metered time limit.
“Jumping the rate… isn’t going to deter the people that are abusing [the meters] to stop abusing [them], because where else are they going to go?” Mulrooney said.
Metered parking spaces line the block in front of Mulrooney’s business. He said parking isn’t an issue for his customers, and he doesn’t see students overstaying the time limits.
“I see parking spots come and go all day long in front of my place… there’s always someone leaving,” said Mulrooney.