In the very near future, Baltimoreans will pay to park on downtown streets based on the demand for the parking spots.
Baltimore will join other municipalities in utilizing the demand for parking spots to set parking rates. The new prices will be implemented by the end of the month. The rates will be adjusted bi-annually to make sure one or two parking spots are available on every block.
Currently the hourly rate on the busiest blocks in the downtown area is $2, which will increase by 25 cents. In areas less frequently used will drop by 25 cents. Prices will be adjusted every 6 months.
A price cap of $5 has been approved, but will take effect in 2023. In areas where the parking rate drops to 25 cents will become free.
The Parking Authority’s executive director, Peter Little, said the goal is to ensure spots, generally filled, are open to reduce driver frustration and decrease congestion. He has dubbed the new approach “cutting edge of parking thought.”
The idea for the new system came from a 2011 pilot program. The pilot area included San Francisco, Boston and Washington. The findings revealed the idea was successful and is now attracting interest from cities nationwide.
City officials plan to expand the new system to Fells Point, Harbor East, Mount Vernon and Federal Hill, if all goes well in Baltimore.
Signs will bear stickers alerting drivers to the price on each block.