CHIP — “You’ll soon pay to park at meters in Indianapolis until 11 p.m.”

James Briggs, Indianapolis Star, January 8 2019

Indianapolis is extending its parking meter hours — but parking will continue to be free Downtown on Sundays.

The City-County Council on Monday gave final approval to a proposal that will standardize meter enforcement hours from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday, across all locations. Meter enforcement currently is staggered by zones and ends as early as 6 p.m. in some parts of the city.

The most noticeable change for many people will be the end of free evening parking Downtown. Meter enforcement currently ends at 9 p.m., which enables free parking for some events and nights out on Massachusetts Avenue or Broad Ripple. The new hours will likely put an end to that.

The changes won’t go as far as originally intended, though. The council’s Democratic leadership initially introduced a plan to add enforcement hours on Sundays, which are free all day. The council’s Public Works Committee eliminated the Sunday hours last month. Indianapolis has 3,800 metered spots.

The Department of Public Works projects the extended hours will generate an additional $800,000 a year for the city to put toward panhandling and homelessness, as well as a new streetsweeping initiative. The city wants to launch a new employment program for people who panhandle or sleep outside; spend $150,000 on rental assistance for recipients of housing vouchers; and support services offered by the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention, such as help with past-due utility bills.

Jeff Bennett, the city’s deputy mayor of community development, said CHIP last year identified 30 frequent panhandlers Downtown. The city wants to use the new parking meter revenue to reduce that number and provide opportunities for anyone who wants to get off the streets.

“There’s a real issue and there’s a perception issue,” Bennett told the council. “Can we affect the real issue by reducing numbers and can we affect the perception issue because we are out there in the community with people who are employed, who are actually beautifying areas where there once was panhandling and people sleeping outside? I think we can do both of those.”

The council approved the extended meter hours by a 21-3 vote. Brian Mowery, a Republican, said he opposed the plan because it amounts to “taxing the people who are willing to visit our city.”

Democrat Jared Evans voted against the extended meter hours because Indianapolis will not receive the bulk of the money that is generated. ParkIndy, a consortium of Xerox, Denison Global Parking and Evens Time, in 2010 paid the city $20 million to take control of the parking meters for 50 years.

In exchange for that lump-sum payment, ParkIndy gets the majority of meter revenue. The city gets 30 percent of gross meter revenue per year, up to $7 million, and 60 percent on any collections after $7 million.

“I had heartburn over that,” Evans said.

The council on Monday also reduced the speed limit in some areas in and around Downtown. The council voted 22-2 to establish a standard speed limit of 25 miles per hour in an area bounded by interstates to the north, east and south and White River Parkway West Drive to the west.

The speed limit is currently higher on some streets within that area.


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