Metered parking in Phoenix could jump to $6 per hour

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- The city of Phoenix is still mulling plans to raise parking meter rates downtown and extend the metered hours until 10 p.m.

It's part of a plan to raise money to fill the city's $38 million budget gap. Planned meter changes would raise between $1 million and $2 million per year.

Many Arizona Diamondbacks fans heading to Thursday night's game parked for free on the streets. Current meter rules allow free parking after 5 p.m.

In addition to the extended hours, some city officials want to see higher meter rates and are calling for $6 per hour meters on special event and game nights.

"Wow, I mean it sounds like a lot of revenue coming in for somebody," Bob Johnsonbaugh said while walking to the D-backs game.

"I think it's going to turn a lot of people off from coming to Suns games, D-backs games, any event down here," added Roxie Pinkstaff.

Some at City Hall say higher meter rates would free up more spots at night by encouraging a higher parking turnover rate. They say that would make it easier for people coming downtown for an hour or two for dinner or shopping to find a spot.

"Well, I'm not buying it," said Ernie Rodgers, who was walking to the D-backs game. "Whatever they can do to nickel and dime, to get a little bit more money, that's what they're going to do."

"That would be annoying. That seems to just more discourage people coming down here at night," added Stephen Chilton, who lives and parks downtown.

The City Council is taking citizen input on the meter hike issue and will vote on it later in June.