Free evening parking in the city could become permanent

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PITTSBURGH - City Council will soon vote on an ordinance that could permanently make evening parking on Pittsburgh streets free.

At the end of June, free parking after 6 p.m. is set to expire, but it will become permanent if City Council votes to adopt the proposed ordinance.

Councilman Corey O’Connor supports the move towards limited parking meter enforcement.

O’Connor said, “You go to Garfield, new restaurants are opening up. Lawrenceville, Squirrel Hill, Shady Side, South Side and all the unique shops that we have in the city, and we're becoming a more urban environment, so we want to give people the benefit.”

Free parking could encourage more people to frequent Pittsburgh restaurants and businesses.

People like Sarah Beechler would be deterred from visiting areas where there is a fee for parking.

“I would go somewhere where I don’t have to pay,” said Beecher.

The push for free evening parking follows the success of a parking tax adopted to generate money for the city pension plan.

“Last year the Parking Authority gave us $2 million, so they're doing their calculations properly and they're paying their fair share so that we don't have to do this again in the future,” said O’Connor.

The city has also seen an increase in revenue since the installation of multi-space pay stations, where some drivers pay a little extra to ensure they are covered for the duration of their stay.

“Then you don't have to go back and feed it, I guess. You can just, I like that it takes cards, it's easier,” said Beechler.

According to a recent Carnegie Mellon University study, the city could make even more money by charging a premium parking rate on more desirable streets, and lowering hourly prices during the day based on demand.