Parking rates are increasing in city-owned Downtown garages and lots and discounts for some city parking contracts and employees will be phased out.
The Downtown Investment Authority voted 7-1 at its Sept. 16 meeting to increase off-street monthly parking pass prices from $10 to $20, depending on the location.
The rates would take effect Oct. 18-20 for new monthly parking passes and Nov. 1 for renewals, according to DIA CEO Lori Boyer.
The increase is the result of a study released in March 2019 by Pennsylvania-based Timothy Haas & Associates Inc. that found city parking rates were not comparable to privately operated facilities Downtown.
Boyer told the board that some Downtown city parking rates have held steady since 2007 while others last saw an increase in 2013.
“So this is playing catch-up,” Boyer said. “This is trying to get the rates constant with the private rates in the lots surrounding and the garages surrounding the public lots and facilities so that we can more adequately balance supply and demand.
“Several of our garages have long waitlists,” she said. “We have challenges finding adequate parking and adopting the kind of shuttle service and organized system that we want to have. We said we were going to follow the Haas recommendations.”
The decision affects five city-owned or contracted parking garages and two lots, according to documents included in the Sept. 16 DIA board packet.
The vote also increases the hourly and daily rates in the city’s Ed Ball Building parking garage for drivers not seeking city services. The $1 hourly and $7 daily rates will rise to $20 and $50, respectively.
Boyer said the DIA and city are challenged by a long waitlist for monthly passes at the Ed Ball and those people are choosing to pay the $7-per-day rate, filling spots needed for customers seeking building permits and other services.
“What we are trying to do is prevent that from happening,” Boyer said.
City service counters now will stamp Ed Ball parking passes for customers to allow them to pay the lower hourly and daily rates.
The DIA is using Haas & Associates as a contracted consultant on the rate changes. The firm estimates the change in the Ed Ball garage will open 60 to 70 spots and allow the city to offer more monthly passes to those on the waitlist.
The DIA also is reviewing Downtown on-street parking rates, but street meter pricing was not part of the resolution Sept. 16. The authority has drafted a request for proposals to install parking kiosks Downtown to gradually replace the existing meters.
The DIA initially intended to end city employees’ 50% parking discount when it expired Oct. 1, but Boyer said Mayor Lenny Curry’s office requested the benefit remain in place through Sept. 30, 2021, because of the financial strain related to COVID-19.
The board voted 8-0 to advance the extension, which still needs City Council approval. The discount will be applied to the increased parking rates approved Sept. 16.
Two Council committees unanimously advanced emergency Ordinance 2020-0568 this week to approve the employee discount extensions. The bill is scheduled for a full Council vote Sept. 22.
Parking discounts for Amkin West Bay LLC of Miami, which owns the TIAA Bank Center at 301 W. Bay St., and for the Jessie Ball duPont Center at 40 E. Adams St. would have expired by the end of 2020.
Those discounts now will be phased out, DIA documents state. The DIA approved an additional six months at the current monthly rate, followed by a 50% increase for six months.
Boyer said the parking contracts could be renegotiated but would be subject to the new monthly parking rates as of Oct. 1, 2021.
“We all know that we are experiencing something out of the ordinary kind of as a short-term, interim situation,” Boyer said. “In recognition of the hardships that COVID-19 has imposed on individuals, it was our recommendation that instead of just automatically terminating all of the discounts, that we phase out the discounts over the coming year.”
DIA board member Bill Adams voted against the plan.
"I do not believe that there is any compelling reason to extend either discount, or at least none that has been explained to my satisfaction," Adams said in an email Sept. 22.
This story has been updated to correct the vote of Adams.