New Downtown Parking Meter Fees Have Locals Brewing

March 8, 2018, 1:10 pm EST | Share:

CHARLESTON, SC (BILL BURR, WTAT-TV) — Parking meters in downtown Charleston could be getting a brand new look and price. People, though, are not happy with the idea and have even started an online petition to fight the new regulations.

Finding a parking spot in downtown Charleston is almost always a challenge. And soon, it’ll cost more. The plan is to raise meter fees to 2 dollars an hour.

Blake Franklin installs fire alarms. He says the increase means he’ll need to adjust his business model.

“The price going up with us means we got to go up on our costs of what we have to charge the customer. And that’s bad to the customer,” Franklin said.

City officials contend the move to increase parking meter fees is also a business decision.

“There’s no question that the city gets a good bit of revenue from the parking garages and the meters. But we didn’t balance the budget off these increases,” said Peter Shahid, District 9 city council member.

He says raising fees and extending the meter enforcement hours to 10 p.m. will cover the cost of upkeep for the high-tech digital devices. It’s where the rubber meets the road to pay for Charleston’s popularity.

“It’s like a cost of living increase. You try to keep up. So that when you do have to make a jump, you’re not making a big jump the next time you raise these rates. We do it gradually and fairly,” Shahid said.

For drivers, they’ll need to remember to pay more at the meter when they choose to park in downtown.

“It’s not going to affect me too much. I mean a couple of bucks. But I don’t think it’s cool to raise the price at all,” said Gregory Burkhardt, Charleston resident who drives downtown.

Councilman Shahid tells us the parking meter fee increase will begin sometime this month. The new meter schedule will be 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. He says there will still be free parking but only at the Battery.

City leaders say they’re working with CARTA officials to make sure a new bus service is up and running for hospitality workers before the new meter fees begin.