Milwaukee Common Council approves parking meter rate rise, use surge pricing

Update: 3:49 p.m. September 25

The Milwaukee Common Council has approved the demand-based pricing plan for parking in the city. There has been no word on whether Mayor Tom Barrett will sign or veto it.

Original story: September 14

Milwaukee could soon raise parking rates around the city, and move to a demand-based pricing model.

The legislation passed the Public Safety and Health Committee four to zero Thursday. Estimates say the changes would add $1.9 million to the city's parking budget.

The proposal would raise the top hourly parking meter rate $0.50 to $2 per hour. It would also change the lowest rate from $0.50 to $0.75.

Department of Public Works says 90% of the cities meters are operated Monday through Friday 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. The legislation would also expand hour of operations to 9 p.m. and add Saturdays.  

Also in the plan are surge or demand-based prices. This would allow the city to price on-street spots like those of local parking lots that charge more for special events. For example, rates could be raised around Fiserv Forum during a basketball game or in the Third Ward on busy days. 

The city is able to do this by utilizing the new "smart meters" that are being installed to replace the coin-based meters and grouped meters. Those meters will take two to three years to install across the city but are already popping up in spots along Water Street and Broadway in downtown. 

The proposal still has to go before the entire council for a vote. 

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