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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Parking meter rate hikes begin Jan. 11, with some changes

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 4:47 PM

click to enlarge KEVIN ALLMAN

Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s plan to raise rates and extend hours for downtown parking meters begins Monday, Jan. 11 2016.

Landrieu's original plan — to double rates from $1.50 an hour to $3 hour and expand cutoff times from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. — changes only slightly, despite pleas from downtown workers, musicians and service and tourism industry groups. The rates will remain, but the extended hours will only go to 7 p.m.

In a statement, Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin said, "After listening closely to the concerns and suggestions from neighborhood leaders and members of our hospitality industry and working with our partners on the New Orleans City Council, we have reached a compromise that will allow us to more efficiently manage and better utilize our city’s limited on-street parking space."

So it now looks like this: beginning Monday, Jan. 11, parking meters are $3 an hour in the French Quarter and Warehouse District from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

The plan — which Landrieu unveiled as part of his 2016 budget proposal in the fall — will affect roughly 830 meters and 3,000 metered spaces from the Mississippi River to Claiborne Avenue and from the Pontchartrain Expressway to Elysian Fields Avenue. All other parking meters in the city will also see a rate increase to $2 an hour.

The New Orleans City Council — including District C Councilmember Nadine Ramsey and District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell, whose districts cover downtown and the Warehouse District — largely opposed the measure, calling it a burden on downtown workers. The measure, however, didn't require City Council approval. 

Landrieu told reporters this month he was working with stakeholders about a possible compromise but didn't flesh out details on a timeline. The rate change is expected to bring in more than $7 million in 2016. Downtown meter rates were raised in 2010 from $1.25 per hour to $1.50.

Landrieu also said the city is working with RTA to improve public transportation — RTA will hold public hearings next month and in February about expanded bus lines and hours of operation downtown.

Among other changes: parking tickets will jump from $20 to $30, a change that will go before the City Council next month.

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