Charleston parking meter fees to increase in 2018

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - You might want to start keeping that pocket change handy.

The parking fees at meters in downtown Charleston are set to go up starting in February of 2018.

This increase essentially mean your money is now worth half of the time it currently will buy.

Right now it takes one dollar per hour to park at a meter. That will be increasing to two dollars in February.

These rates are going to match the same hourly rate as the parking garages.

"That is really a needed adjustment in the rates," said Josh Martin, the senior advisor to the mayor. "Right now, the garages are more expensive than the street spaces. And we wanted to make that equal."

The idea, Martin said, is to keep the spaces turning over as frequently as possible.

"If it's easier to park on the street – those retail merchants along the street are not realizing the turnover and the shift in the parking," Martin added

In addition to changing the price, the hours of the meters will also be extended.

"We know that we have a lot of nighttime use that is happening, specifically in the central business district," Martin said.

The city is in the midst of changing out more than 1,700 meters to not only accept coins but accept credit cards, debit cards and prepaid SmartCards.

Officials expect all of the new meters to be installed by the end of the first quarter of 2018.

The city is also about to do its first parking study in more than 20 years.

Martin explained the study will look at things like inventory of existing parking spaces around the city, a future "Park and Ride" lot, residential parking districts,how they're handling revenue and more.

The city has already approved its first "Park and Ride" lot which will launch during the first quarter of 2018.

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