At this week’s Dallas City Council meeting, members discussed a possible new policy that would increase parking meter prices in Dallas.
Of the approximate 3,600 parking meters currently in Dallas, most have not had prices updated in over ten years, while 11% of them have not seen a price change in more than 20 years.
“Street parking is essential to the economic vitality of many of our business districts,” said Kathryn Rush, the chief planner at the Department of Transportation.
In Dallas’ Historical District, Klyde Warren Park, and Deep Ellum, parking meter prices range from as low as 5 cents to $1.50 per hour. In other cities, meter costs are typically more expensive, ranging from $1 to $5.
According to transportation officials, a $1 per hour fee is the minimum amount typically needed to make metered parking worthwhile for the city.
“We are the only city that defines on a block-by-block basis what the [price] rate should be, and that’s been one of the key obstacles,” Rush said. “We are significantly undervaluing the most desirable parking spot in our districts.”
The new policy would install more parking meters and increase parking garages’ prices. All price increases will be determined by “occupancy data,” meaning prices will go up in more desirable places as more spots become occupied.
“Variable rates” would also be implemented in specific areas. When a special event is scheduled at places like the American Airlines Center, nearby meter prices will increase to $15 or $20.
Council members discussed the possibility of a discounted parking pass for employees who work in areas where parking is usually hard to find.
Council Member Jesse Moreno from District 2 supported that idea, saying it would help essential workers who can’t afford increased parking rates.
“Public transportation doesn’t run at 2:30 a.m. When these barbacks, when these people… are serving Deep Ellum entertainment district, we need to make sure that we provide safe and ample parking for them,” Moreno said.
Council Member Cara Mendelsohn from District 12 supported the implementation of variable rates and conceded a need for more metered parking. However, Mendelsohn was not a fan of discounted parking prices for employees.
“We don’t need to subsidize businesses because they’re not paying their employees properly,” Mendelsohn said. “They [businesses] should be paying them enough to be able to afford to park or take transit, or they should give them a bus pass.”
The policy also designates specific areas for loading and unloading, allowing trucks to make business deliveries more efficiently. Officials also ensured that handicap-accessible on-street parking would be provided and spoke of the possibility of creating an app that helps residents find parking.
Council Member Omar Narvaez of District 6 wanted a timeline and cost estimate on the policy before taking a stance.
The next step will be for the Department of Transportation to revise the plan with the feedback council members provided them. Then the City Council will take a vote on its potential adoption.