Motorists Sound Off On Higher Parking Fees In Downtown Fort Wayne (VIDEO)

By Jeff Neumeyer

April 8, 2013 Updated Apr 8, 2013 at 5:34 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) --- Stock up on loose change.

Starting April 8th, parking meter rates in downtown Fort Wayne doubled.

And parking violators will be paying more too.

City government figures to make some cash through the change.

One quarter used to get you one hour at a downtown meter.

Now, you need to drop in $0.50 for the same length of time.

It means some adjustment for people visiting the heart of the city.

When confronted with the new $0.50 meter charge, Stephane Hobson felt she could see both sides of the coin.

" I understand that things are going up. But I kind of feel like maybe, there should be a place for us to park when we don't have the finances to do what we need to do," said Hobson.

We caught up with Jacob Willis and Matt Dutiel as they dug deeper to pay the new fees.

" In other cities, it's a lot higher, so I guess it is cheaper here, but doubling the rates is a little outrageous," said Dutiel, who is frustrated by the higher fees.

" I think because downtown is getting busier, they feel like they can charge more and get away with it, and make a little bit of extra money. I do think it's ridiculous that they don't have more free parking around here," said Willis, who believes vacant lots should be utilized more as parking options.

Parking violators will also take a hit in the new rate structure.

Fines go from $5.00 to $10.00.

Maria Bartra walked out just as a parking officer was writing her a ticket.

“ $10.00, and that's a lot for a parking ticket, and I was only two minutes late and I didn't know they'd changed it, and it's the first day that they enforced it, that's really crappy," said Bartra.

The city council and Board of Public Safety endorsed the increases with the rationale that compared to similar sized cities such as Toledo, Cleveland, Grand Rapids and Lansing, Fort Wayne is still a bargain.

" They're charging anywhere from $0.75 to over $1.00 an hour, so we still feel that even with the increase, it's still very manageable for people to park downtown," said city spokesperson John Perlich.

The city took in $464,000 in 2012 from parking meters and fine collections.

Mayor Tom Henry’s administration figures that income will roughly double, meaning almost another $500,000 in a twelve-month time period.

That’s significant, when right now city government is scrounging for every extra dollar it can find.

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