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Parking in Dallas? You could see a jump in cost if this new policy is approved

A line of parked cars near meters.
Keren Carrión
/
KERA News
Dallas council members were told Wednesday that most of the city's parking meter prices have not been updated in 10 to 20 years.

City officials are thinking about adding more parking spots in Dallas. But that could come at a cost for motorists.

Most of Dallas’ parking meter prices have not been updated in 10 to 20 years. At a meeting Wednesday, council members discussed an On-Street Parking and Curbside Management Policy. If it is adopted, the city would install new meters, remove outdated ones and raise prices.

“Street parking is essential to the economic vitality of many of our business districts,” said Kathryn Rush, chief planner at the Department of Transportation.

In other cities, parking costs range from $1 to $5 per hour. But it’s a lot cheaper for Dallas motorists. For example, in Dallas’ Historical District, Klyde Warren Park and Deep Ellum, prices range from as low as 5 cents to $1.50.

“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 increase prices at metered parking and parking garages. The increases would be based on “occupancy data.” That means prices go up if the area is desirable and when fewer spots are available. It would also install more upgraded parking meters.

“Variable rates” also may apply in certain areas like the American Airlines Arena. When a special event is scheduled, prices would increase up to $15 to $20.

Council Member Cara Mendelsohn was in favor of variable rates and expressed the need for more metered parking.

Transportation officials also proposed a discounted parking pass for employees who work in areas where parking is difficult to find.

Council Member Jesse Moreno said that would help essential workers who can’t afford increasing parking rates.

“Public transportation doesn't run at 2:30 a.m. When these bar backs, when these people who are serving Deep Ellum entertainment district, we need to make sure that we provide safe and ample parking for them,” Moreno said.

He also said that before raising parking prices, the council should be mindful of businesses and residents recovering from the economic effects of the pandemic.

Mendelsohn opposes the discounted parking pass 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 would designate loading and unloading places for trucks to make business deliveries easier. And it includes plans for an app to help residents find parking spots.

Council Member Omar Narvaez wants a timeline on the policy and a cost estimate.

The transportation department will revise the plan with the feedback from council members and then the City Council will take a vote.

Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report For America corps member for KERA News. Email Alejandra at amartinez@kera.org. You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @alereports.

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Alejandra Martinez is a reporter for KERA and The Texas Newsroom through Report for America (RFA). She's covering the impact of COVID-19 on underserved communities and the city of Dallas.