Beginning next Tuesday, Austinites looking to park downtown will have to pay on nights and weekends. After months of debate, City Council voted to extend parking meter hours, which currently run from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
The plan, originally approved in March, would have extended the hours to 8 a.m. through midnight on Mondays through Saturdays. But, after further consideration earlier this month, City Council changed the schedule: Parking will be metered from 8 a.m. through 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 8 a.m. through midnight Thursday and Friday and 11 a.m. through midnight Saturday.
The result is a costly inconvenience to UT students and others who choose to venture downtown on the weekends, and businesses downtown will likely suffer from the extended hours. To minimize inconvenience, the city should expand transit services with the revenue gained from the increased meter hours. This will allow the city to benefit from the extended hours without seriously limiting residents’ ability to access the downtown area.