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City Of Bloomington Looking At Parking Changes
Updated September 10, 2018 8:49 AM
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(BLOOMINGTON) - Motorists who park in Bloomington could soon see increased penalties and zero free parking.

The Herald Times reports, Bloomington City Council members this week will review changes to the city's parking and how it is managed. The council will consider creating a Parking Services Director position that would oversee changes to the city's garages, lots and neighborhood zones.

The goal is to bring in more money and therefore reduce dependence on public subsidy, because parking revenues have not kept pace with the costs associated with parking.

The city has spent more than $5 million from its tax increment financing revenue funds between 2011 and 2017 to subsidize its parking garages. Rates in the city's residential neighborhood parking program have not been adjusted since 2001.

Officials say garage users are only paying 40 percent of the total expenses related to that garage space -- with taxpayers paying the rest. Officials want to shift the burden to the people who are actually are using downtown parking.

The city's parking commission wants to increase rates to make up for lost revenue and has scheduled increases through 2029.

The Herald Times reports the city council will also consider adjusting the boundaries of some existing neighborhood zones in addition to creating a new neighborhood zone for the residents of Garden Hill to increase the number of places where permit holders can legally park.

Neighborhood zone parking permits have largely been oversold, resulting in a high number of violations.

The commission also recommends increasing the base cost of violations from $20 to $30.

With increased rates also comes the recommendation to reduce, and ultimately eliminate free parking. Originally implemented in 2013 as a temporary relief for the new parking meters, the city's parking commission recommends reducing the three hours of free parking currently offered in the city's garages and lots to just one hour. By 2021, those free hours may completely disappear.

Another plan would align the hours of enforcement across all municipal lots and on-street meters to run from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. The parking commission also recommends extending the North Walnut and West Fourth street garages operating hours to run 24 hours a day, six days a week.

Most of the proposed fee increases and changes to on-street meters could be implemented as soon as Jan. 1, 2019, pending council approval. Changes to the city's neighborhood parking zones would not take effect until Aug. 15 of next year, when current neighborhood zone permits expire.

The city council will consider these recommendations and more at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the council chambers of City Hall, 401 N. Morton St. Residents are encouraged to attend.

Information Herald Times,

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