St. Louis' coin-only parking meters may get a technology upgrade, but it might cost you more to use them.
On Thursday, the city's parking commission reviewed initial recommendations to raise parking rates by next year. The suggestions come from a preliminary report commissioned by the city that evaluates its parking system.
The commission is considering raising hourly meter rates from $1 to $1.50 in busy downtown areas, and from $0.75 to $1 in lower demand areas. Some violation fees also would increase.
City Treasurer Tishaura Jones said St. Louis has some of the lowest parking fees in the country. The extra funds would pay for the replacement of the city's coin-only meters with ones that can take a variety of payment options, she said.
"There are meters that offer alternative forms of payment such as using your credit card or debit card, or phone app to pay for parking sessions, and we were just making sure that we were trying to bring St. Louis from the 19th century to the 21st century," she said.
Jones said the parking study was required by city code whenever St. Louis considers changing meter fees. The report was also done in conjunction with a field-test of different parking technologies in downtown St. Louis and the Central West End.
Jones' office already chose the company Xerox to upgrade the meters and Parkmobile to launch a parking smartphone app.
"We realize that no one's a fan of price increases, but new technology costs money and these increases are modest enough that we're confident that they won't overwhelm those who use on-street parking," Jones said.
A final report on the suggested rate hikes will be released to the public in the next couple of weeks. The parking commission could vote on final recommendations as soon as November. If approved, the rate increases would take effect next July.