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Last night the Bloomington City Council voted to give downtown drivers back 2 hours of free parking each day. The Council voted to start enforcing the meter rules at 9 a.m. instead of 8 a.m. They also moved the end of parking enforcement up an hour, from 10 p.m. to 9 p.m. Council member Steve Volan presented a proposal to cut the enforcement hours. Volan said the idea was based on a proposal from Mayor Mark Kruzan’s administration.
“They were suggesting cutting 4 hours out of the 18 hour days” Volan referencing the proposal of Kruzan’s administration. “Both my ordinance only propose to cut 2 hours of the day off.” Volan states.
Cutting the enforcement hours is expected to cost the city government $175,000 a year in meter revenue. Although it approved the reduction in hours, the Council rejected another proposal that would have cut costs for drivers. Volan suggested reducing the cost of parking on the edges of downtown, where many parking spaces are under-utilized. He proposed cutting the cost from a dollar an hour to 50 cents an hour. But some Council members, including Susan Sandberg, said that would be too confusing for residents.
Sandberg exclaims, “I think consistency is our smartest strategy in trying to, again, get the public to vie in to the fact we no longer have 2 hour free parking” “having it be a dollar can be a prohibitory factor” Sandberg says.
The Council did approve several other changes to the parking rule. The parking garage on Morton Street will now allow drivers 3 hours of free parking. The Council also gave the mayor discretion to suspend meter operation on holidays and in other special circumstances, such as extreme weather. The changes don’t take effect until after the mayor signs the legislation and the City Clerk publishes it.