by Geoff Rushton
Drivers will soon see a change to hourly parking rates at State College’s three downtown parking garages.
In April 2016, the borough auctioned a $6.3 million general obligation bond to fund restoration and improvement projects for the garages. Along with that borough council approved a number of rate changes for garage, meter and permit parking. Special event rates for the garages and permit rate changes went into effect last year.
On Monday, council approved modification to the changes for garage rates, which are set to go into effect on Aug. 15.
The first 30 minutes in the Fraser Street, Pugh Street and Beaver Avenue garages will still be free for the first 30 minutes. For 31-60 minutes the rate will now be $1, a change from the initially approved 50 cents.
Each additional hour, however, will be $1, instead of the $1.25 that was approved last year.
As previously approved, meter parking increased to 25 cents per 12 minutes, or $1.25 per hour (up from 25 cents for 15 minutes).
In a memo, parking director Rick Ward said the change will illustrate a defined difference between garage and street parking and encourage use of the garages.
“One of our primary goals is to heavily utilize the downtown parking garages and to leave as much available space as possible at the on-street parking meters,” Ward wrote. “This defined rate difference will encourage more traffic to the garages and reduce traffic congestion on heavily utilized areas of downtown.”
Ward said that the change will reduce the amount of coins used for payments and decrease issues including coin jams and machine malfunctions, as well as reducing time at payment kiosks.
The change increases projected annual revenue from $496,000 to $545,093.
The 24-hour maximum charge will remain the same as previously approved at $18. Special event rates, which went into effect in 2016, remain $2.25 per hour.