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Street parking in Dallas could get more expensive this summer

A parking meter in downtown Dallas. The city council will vote on whether to raise the cost of meters in certain parts of the city.
Katherine Hobbs
A parking meter in downtown Dallas. The city council will vote on whether to raise the cost of meters in certain parts of the city.

The Dallas City Council is considering raising rates at parking meters across the city to increase revenue and free up more spots.

It could soon cost more to park on certain streets in Dallas.

A new street parking and curb management proposal being considered by the city council aims to free up space for street parking in popular areas and increase city revenue.

At a briefing Wednesday, Chief Transportation Planner Kathryn Rush said the goal is to balance the need for loading activities, while also providing plenty of space for on-street parking.

“The only thing worse than paying for parking is having no parking at all,” Rush said. “If the curb is free or priced too low in popular areas, it is often crowded and new arrivals to that area have no place to park, which could discourage them from going to that area at all.”

She noted that parking meters with time limits are tools at the city’s disposal to encourage people not to stay parked for too long in front of businesses, and therefore keep someone else from utilizing that spot.

If the proposal is adopted, Rush said popular areas like downtown and Deep Ellum could soon see a $1 parking minimum — up from as low as 5 cents in some areas.

But the plan is to increase rates incrementally, only changing by 25-50 cent increments in a six-month period.

Rush said it’s important to strike a balance when increasing prices.

“If the price is too high and many curb spaces remain vacant, nearby stores lose customers, employees lose jobs, and the city loses tax revenue,” she said.

Lower rates, she added, leads to fewer vacant spaces.

“If the price is too low and no spaces are vacant, people will be discouraged from visiting,” Rush said. And, she added, “drivers who cruise [looking] for a space waste time, fuel, congest traffic and pollute the air.”

Councilmember Jesse Moreno, who represents District 2 including Deep Ellum, disagreed with that assessment.

“When you have a good business, folks are going to find you and people are going to find a place to park,” he said.

“I'm not under the impression that we don't have that adequate parking,” he added.

After deducting expenses needed to install or upgrade parking meters, Rush said 60% of the remaining revenue would be reinvested into the same high-traffic areas where it’s being spent.

The remaining 40% would go toward citywide services like sidewalk repairs, tree planting and street maintenance.

In the next phase of the initiative, Rush says the city will survey downtown businesses to get feedback on the proposal.

The city council will vote on whether to adopt the proposal sometime this summer.

Rebekah Morr is KERA's All Things Considered newscaster and producer. She came to KERA from NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., where she worked as a news assistant at Weekend All Things Considered.