Rising downtown parking fees spark opposition from peninsula workers

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A petition circling social media Wednesday night aims to stop the City of Charleston from raising its parking meter costs.

Some downtown workers are concerned about the new changes

"It's not only going to ten, it's also doubling the amount I have to spend," said Johnathan Graham." It's basically going to triple my opportunity cost to come downtown and work."

City officials said the meter cost will match the garage fees.

With the extended hours, officials said they will hire more people to monitor the meters at night.

City officials said this could increase the turnover at locations who are also busy at night.

Graham said downtown workers could be forced to look elsewhere for work.

"You're going to see a lot of employees who say,'The opportunity cost to work downtown is just too high,'" Graham said. "We're going to have to work on Johns Island or West Ashley or out in Mount Pleasant."

The city is also starting a new park and ride lot. Charleston City officials said it's a short-term solution to deal with parking issues for employees who work at downtown businesses.

It's expected to include several hundred parking spots for workers.

Graham said he is concerned there won't be enough parking spaces, and it's going to be the workers who are going to have to pay the new higher costs rather than the out-of-towners.

"I get guests all the time coming down from up north or the Midwest who are just astounded by how wonderful our city is, how beautiful our city is, and how inexpensive how many things are compared to these bigger cities," Graham said."That's given us a big competitive edge. We've been the number one travel destination in the United States for years."

City officials said meters make $1.2 million annually, not including expenses.

The price increase is expected to go into effect around the same time as the city's park and ride lot.

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