City Puts the Brake on Parking Meter Rate Hike

Parking meter prices will remain the same in the outer boroughs and above 86th Street in Manhattan thanks to a budget deal reached between Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council.

Drivers are now charged 25 cents for 20 minutes to park at a meter in those areas. But the planned hike would have increased the hourly rate from 75 cents an hour to $1.

"I think making it fifteen minutes now for twenty-five cents would've been punitive and would've discouraged people, especially when you're going from mom and pop store to mom and pop store," said Chairman of the City Council Transportation Committee James Vacca.

The Department of Transportation estimates the city will lose $2.4 million a year without the increase.

City budget watchers expect the mayor to reintroduce the rate hike in his preliminary budget next month. In response, Vacca and felllow Council member Diana Reyna of Brooklyn and Queens are seeking to limit the city's ability to raise parking rates on city streets.

The pair say they're preparing to introduce legislation in February that would restrict the city's ability to increase meter rates by more than 25 percent over any five-year period, unless granted special authorization from the City Council.

On Jan. 3, meter prices went up in Manhattan south of 86th Street, from $2.50 to $3.00 per hour.