Possible parking fee increase worries Downtown business owners

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - We all know the feeling when we see an expired parking meter.

But for many downtown visitors, the threat of getting a $4 dollar parking ticket isn't enough to keep them from overstaying their meter.

"I have a lot of people tell me I'm not even worried about that four bucks," says Montgomery Mayor, Todd Strange.

That's why city leaders want to crack down by increasing downtown meter costs from $0.25 cents to $0.50 per hour.

And the $4 dollar parking tickets would come with a bigger price tag, too.

"We're raising that to ten," says Strange.

City leaders believe the fee increase will get people in and out of spaces faster, bringing more business to the downtown area.

But some business owners don't think it will make any difference.

"I don't think it's going to be good for [any] one's business," says Will Johnson, owner of Bama Bistro on Commerce Street.

He says raising the fees wouldn't have an affect on his bottom line.

"What's going to happen is people are just going to get more tickets, they're going to have to pay more money, and it's going to be more frustration, that's it."

But another business owner is still on the fence.

Bob Parker of Dreamland Barbeque says in three months he's only heard a few customer complaints about parking.  But he still says something needs to be done.

"I think that that may help short-term if that's what they're trying to achieve, but I still think there needs to be another well thought out long-term solution."

City council members didn't make a decision about the increase at Tuesday night's council meeting.  They're expected to continue the discussion at the next meeting in August.

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