Broad Ripple parking prices to increase

Indianapolis drivers will soon pay more and later into the evening for metered parking.

On March 28, rates will rise from 75 cents to $1 per hour in parts of downtown and in Broad Ripple.

Metered hours will run Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., starting the same day.

Currently, metered parking spaces are free on weekends and after 6 p.m.

The rise in rates comes as approximately 3,700 coin-operated meters are being replaced with modern electronic meters that accept credit and debit cards in addition to coins.

Lou Gerig, whose firm Sease, Gerig & Associates handles public relations for ParkIndy, said the rates are justified by the meter upgrades and inflation.

“The rates have not gone up in 35 years,” he said. “It will still be cheaper to park here than in most cities in the Midwest.”

Chicago meter rates are $1.50 to $5 an hour, Milwaukee rates average $1.50 per hour and St. Louis’ downtown rates are also $1 per hour. Meter rates in Columbus, Ohio, are somewhat lower than Indianapolis’ at 40 cents to $1 per hour.

The new meters and subsequent rate hikes come on the heels of the City-County Council’s approval of a lease deal last November.

Under the plan, the city leased all meters to Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services and two Indianapolis-based firms for an up-front payment of $20 million.

In return, the companies agreed to upgrade the meters and pay a portion of the revenue to the city over a 50-year contract period. The revenue will be spent on infrastructural improvement projects and street resurfacing.

The final vote was 15-14, with dissenting councilors voting against it because they said it represents a sale of a traditionally public asset to private companies. Some also said the city will lose revenue from the meters.

In a statement, Mayor Greg Ballard said the sale has little risk for the city and allows for needed meter modernization.

Workers have already begun installing the new meters downtown and will install others on portions of College Avenue, Guilford Avenue and Westfield Boulevard and on Broad Ripple Avenue from College Avenue to Winthrop Avenue over the next few weeks.

Alena Harrison, an employee at the Broad Ripple Starbucks, said she did not think the shop would suffer much because of increased parking prices, but she could see the higher rates causing problems for customers.

“I work in Broad Ripple, so I know where to park for free,” she said, “but I could see how it might be a pain [for customers].”

Ashley Martz, a manager at the Broad Ripple clothing store Pitaya, said the city needs to add more parking along with raising the rates.

She also said the rising meter rates probably will not hurt business, but the longer hours may impact employees at Pitaya and other businesses along Broad Ripple Avenue.

“Parking will be hard to come by for employees on evenings when they used to be able to park outside for free,” Martz said. “It’s an inconvenience for them.”