Downtown Bangor commuters will soon be digging a little deeper into their wallets to pay to park at the Pickering Square garage and the Abbot Square lot next to the federal building.
While the rates for the first four hours at the parking lots will remain the same, beginning April 1 the cost of parking five hours or more will increase between 50 cents and $2. Republic Parking System, the Tennessee-based company that oversees and manages the city’s municipal lots, recommended the changes in its November 2016 annual parking report. Those changes were approved by the city council on Feb. 27.
Tanya Emery, the city’s Community and Economic Development director, said the parking rates at those lots for transient motorists have not increased since 2003 and bumping up the price could help encourage people to purchase monthly parking passes, freeing up hourly spaces for short-term downtown shoppers.
“I think it makes sense for us to periodically look at the rates to review whether the fees are covering the costs associated with providing the services,” Emery said.
The rate changes will not impact the cost of monthly rates which “have been adjusted every two to three years,” according to Republic Parking’s report.
Under the new rates, the cost of parking in either lot for more than four hours will rise from $2.50 to $3, more than five hours from $3 to $4, more than six hours from $3.50 to $5, more than seven hours from $4 to $6 and over eight hours from $4.50 to $6.
The rate to park the first four hours at both the garage and the lot will remain the same.
Parking is free for the first two hours at the Pickering Square garage and $1.50 for more than two hours and $2 for more than three hours. Parking at the Abbot Square lot is free for the first 15 minutes, 50 cents for the first hour after that, $1 to park over an hour, $1.50 over two hours, and $2 over three hours.
The rate change for transient parkers is needed to meet demand and become in-line with the cost of parking at pay-by-space lots along Columbia Street, at the corner of Exchange and Hancock Streets and at the corner of Harlow and Cumberland Streets, according to the report.
Those pay-by-space lots charge 50 cents per hour for the first four hours and $1 per hour after, for up to nine hours. Cars parked over nine hours are ticketed.
The Pickering Square garage has had a steady increase in transient customers, going up from little more than 25,000 in 2013 to 35,000 in 2016, according to the report. Republic Parking attributed the rise to increasing activity in downtown Bangor and the Penobscot Judicial Center and the addition of Waterfront Concerts.
The Abbot Square parking lot on the other hand has seen a steady decline in customers over the past decade with just over 50,000 in 2007 to slightly less than 30,000 in 2015, according to the report.