Paying more to park in downtown Birmingham

The cost of parking in downtown Birmingham will soon double as city council looks to increase more revenue. (

It will soon cost drivers more money to park along streets{} in downtown Birmingham.The Birmingham City Council plans to double rates to increase more than $1 million each year in revenue for the city. The plan was included in the 2015 budget, which the Council approved Tuesday. Most meters cost 25 cents to start, depending on how long you park. Councilwoman Kim Rafferty, who is also chairman of the city's Transportation Committee, told ABC 33/40 city leaders are still mulling over the amount of the increase. Rafferty says they are doing comparisons on cities of similar sizes. She also says there are considerations for dual parking and some downtown districts costing more for parking than others. The National Parking Association shows an increase in parking rates, across the board. For example, the first-hour, weekday daytime rate ranges from $2.98 to $5.85. The average first-hour, daytime rate in the South is $3.45. But the NPA does not show if those average rates include both streetside and parking deck prices.Rafferty insists the extra money is needed to replace and update old meters, which could also reduce the number of people who park all day in spots to avoid using parking decks or people who vandalize the equipment. The parking decks are operated by the Birmingham Parking Authority. The city gets a percentage of those parking fees each year, according to Rafferty.Rafferty plans to give $75,000 of her public improvement discretionary funding to purchase new meters. She says each meter costs $300. An ordinance must pass and the full council must vote on it before the rates increase. Stay with ABC 33/40 for details on this story.