Fayette County

Using busy parking spaces in parts of Lexington will cost more. Agency wants money, turnover.

Time expired at the Lexington parking meter near downtown Lexington and the University of Kentucky campus.
Time expired at the Lexington parking meter near downtown Lexington and the University of Kentucky campus. Herald-Leader

Some parking meters in downtown Lexington and near the University of Kentucky will increase in price for the first time in 10 years, according to the county parking authority.

Meters that cost $1 per hour will increase to $1.50 per hour, as of March 1, according to the Lexington & Fayette County Parking Authority. That means a quarter will give users 10 minutes of parking time, as opposed to the current 15 minutes.

The meters are enforced from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“I’m sure no one will jump for joy about any increase, but I think people realize it’s not a huge increase and we have taken our time to do it,” said Gary Means, parking authority executive director. “We increased the rates in 2009, so it’s 10 years later now. We have been talking about it for two years.”

The meters that will see a price increase are the busiest ones in the city, Means said. They are typically at least 70 percent occupied.

Spaces that charge 50 cents per hour will not have increased rates, the parking authority said in a release. These areas include parking spots around Woodland Park and Thoroughbred Park, Chevy Chase and east and north of downtown.

The parking authority hopes the increased rates will increase turnover on heavily parked streets and help pay for $4 million in needed parking garage maintenance over the next four years.

“In the last three years, we’ve had two different consultants recommend rate increases,” Means said. “We’ve done our homework, and we believe that the rate increase will create more convenient parking by opening up spaces closer to a driver’s destination. It also will provide much-needed parking revenue to make ongoing safety improvements and technology upgrades.”

The Lexington parking authority said last June it could lose more than $200,000 a year due to a swap of land with UK that will eliminate parking authority meters on some streets. An increase in parking fees was one of the options for making up the lost money, according to Jim Frazier III, chairman of the LexPark board.