(KFYI News) – On-street parking in downtown Phoenix is no longer free on evenings and weekends.
Effective Monday (Aug. 18), Phoenix parking meters require payment from 8 AM to 10 PM every day. The previous parking meter hours were 8 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday, making Phoenix one of the only large- and medium-sized cities in the country allowing free meter parking at night and on both days of the weekend.
The change was prompted by complaints from downtown stores, restaurants, and clubs that people attending sporting events or concerts downtown tend to dominate the on-street meters, which were free after 5 PM, making it difficult for customers who wanted to patronize those businesses to find a nearby place to park.
The longer parking meter hours are supposed to push most of the long-term parkers to surface lots or parking garages, freeing up the on-street meters for business customers.
The longer hours are also expected to bring in an additional $1 million per year in revenue to the city's general fund.
City officials say the new, longer hours will be enforced right away, although warnings may be given initially until people get used to the fact that they have to pay the meters during hours when payment wasn't previously required.
Another change in parking meters is coming in November. That's when variable pricing will kick in, meaning parking meters will charge different rates depending on the neighborhood, the time of day, and the day of the week, depending on demand.