City to raise rates at parking garages

But plan would offer deal to downtown residents

March 26, 2013|By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore officials hope to draw more money from city-owned garages downtown, raising rates at garages on Caroline, Baltimore and West streets while adding a new monthly overnight plan at the St. Paul Street garage.

The city's Board of Estimates is set to vote Wednesday on the proposal, which officials say is necessary to maintain the parking facilities. The Parking Authority of Baltimore City, which recommended the increases, said the new, cheaper option on St. Paul Street will make parking more affordable for people who live nearby.

The city plans to charge commuters about $1 more per day at the Caroline Street location, $3 more per day for evening parking on Baltimore Street and $3 to $5 more per month at the garage on West Street.

At the same time, city officials plan to offer a discounted parking plan for residents who park in the city's St. Paul Street garage. Instead of paying the monthly $200 commuter rate, residents who agree to leave the garage by 9 a.m. and not return before 4 p.m. would pay $90 per month.

The parking authority, which is recommending the increases, said in board documents that members believe the new charges are "warranted at this time" because of the rising costs of running the garages.

Peter E. Little, executive director of the parking authority, said the agency expects the new rates to generate an extra $150,000 to $200,000 a year for the city.

The proposal points out that rates have not gone up since 2007.

"However, operating costs continue to increase," parking officials wrote. "Liability insurance costs, health insurance and payroll costs for staff utilities, and improvements to the facilities such as better lighting, revenue control equipment, security cameras, etc. have all contributed."

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