INDIANAPOLIS — Qasim Farid lives downtown and often parks at a meter.
“I would say three times a week I do feed the meter,” Qasim said, exiting his truck at noon on Mass Ave downtown.
When ParkIndy raises the hourly fee at parking meters throughout downtown and in Broad Ripple on April 1 from $1.50 an hour to $1.75, Farid estimates the increase will cost him about $100 per year.
“It doesn’t surprise me. Things keep going up every year,” he said. “I wish it wasn’t happening and I wish they would lower their prices as well but there should be a certain amount of rates for downtown residents.”
The City’s parking partner is raising its rates, based on inflation, at some meters for the first time in the first ten years of its contract.
The increase will affect about 45% of the 4211 meters covered by the privatization partnership.
Throughout downtown, ParkIndy has installed the next generation of digital parking meters which users can access with an app, credit card or coins.
“It was a concern with the state of the parking meters and it took a lot to get those to work and figure out how they worked,” said Gina Huff whose customers at Global Gifts sometimes park for hours along Mass Ave. “I think just because everything is going up and with the understanding, I would assume, with having it updated to a digital system that people might just take it in stride that that’s inflation and that’s how things are going.”
According to revenue statistics provided by ParkIndy, the City and its partner realized $96,013,812 in parking meter and citation revenue from 2011-2021 with the City receiving $35,768,747, a roughly 37% share of the total revenues.
Statistics provided by the Department of Public Works show a more modest total for the City.
According to ParkIndy, the contractor and the City hit a high point in revenue in 2019, the last full year before the COVID-19 outbreak, with total revenues topping out at $11,116,156 and the City receiving $4,474,589.
The next year, after the pandemic and the accompanying recession arrived in mid-March, overall revenues slumped to $6,961,335 with the City’s share coming in at $2,415,426.
Last year those numbers rebounded to $8,811,662 and $3,259,693 respectively, the lowest revenue figures since 2013.
This year the City is projecting to receive $5 million in parking revenues and expecting the April rate increase to add another $275,000 to that figure.
ParkIndy bears the financial responsibility of building, maintaining and staffing the network during the next 40 years of the contract’s duration, which was renewed by the Hogsett administration in 2020 in a deal it inherited from Mayor Greg Ballard.
On Mass Ave, where parking is sometimes at a premium and drivers coped with closed streets and outdoor restaurant seating competing for parking spaces, merchants are concerned paying an extra quarter an hour to park may hurt their business.
”That’s not gonna help bring people downtown,” said Jennifer McDaniel at Artisans. “We’re trying to get people to come back downtown and shop and be able to shop local and enjoy downtown and everything it has to offer and if you gotta fight for a spot and pay a high price, you might think about going somewhere else.”
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