City of Austin to increase parking meter rate to $2 an hour

Starting next Monday, expect to pay more at the meter in Downtown Austin.

On October 14, Austin Transportation is set to implement the $2-per-hour citywide parking meter base rate that City Council approved in their 2019-20 budget.

The new rate will apply to all City of Austin metered on-street parking spots. The rate is currently $1.20 per hour in downtown and $1 per hour outside downtown.

According to a release from Austin Transportation, the city street parking system is "designed to promote space turnover, which provides convenient short-term access to places of interest," however at the current rates, staff "have routinely observed drivers exceeding parking time restrictions."

The release says staff observations align with the Downtown Austin Alliance's Downtown Austin Parking Strategy, released in 2017.

"The rates do not match the level of demand or patterns of behavior. On-street prices are lower than off-street prices. There is a direct incentive for drivers to circle and hunt for the best deal."

— reads the report.

Austin Transportation director Robert Spillar says the rate increase "better represents the true value of street parking."

"It also supports the City of Austin’s goals of providing more mobility options and reducing single-occupancy vehicle trips," Spillar said.

The goals are outlined in the Austin Strategic Direction 2023, the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, and the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan, which envisions at least 50 percent of commuters using modes other than single-occupancy vehicles by 2039, says the release.

The release also highlights the Affordable Parking Program that Austin Transportation launched in 2016, making downtown off-street parking more accessible to those who work or regularly park downtown in the evenings.

Austin Transportation says the program has around 400 users and that there are spaces available at between $30 and $65 a month.