Downtown Parking Changes

By Eric DeFreeuw

December 18, 2012 Updated Dec 18, 2012 at 11:44 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) - Parking downtown could soon be getting quite expensive. At Tuesday night’s city council meeting a lot of changes were discussed when it comes to downtown meters.

The city is hoping to bring some cash flow to downtown Fort Wayne, and one of the changes being discussed is raising the hourly rate of parking from 25 cents, where it has been for some time now, to 50 cents. This came up after a study was done of parking rates in similar Midwest cities.

City attorney Carol Helton says, "most of (the other Midwest city’s) cheapest rates on average were about a dollar an hour. So Fort Wayne’s parking rate is still very reasonable at 50 cents per hour, even with the increase."

Right now the plan is in the preliminary phases and would need to be approved by city council, which likely won't happen until mid-to-late January.

City council members are also in talks right now on ways to make collecting unpaid fines easier and cheaper.

City council member John Crawford pointed out, “right now if nobody pays it goes through a system that ultimately goes into the court system and it takes a long time. So what they are going to do is make an administrative hearing officer like we do for neighborhood code if people don't pay their fine for fixing their houses and stuff. So it's just a quicker process to collect the fines."

What it appears the city is hoping is that by making the process easier for violators to pay the fine, they will become more compliant, thus paying off more of the tickets.

And violators should notice some money back in their pocket, too. By going in front of an administrative hearing officer and not a legal judge, they could save nearly $100. Now they will pay a minor hearing fee rather than extensive legal fees.

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