New downtown parking plan would add 500+ metered parking spaces

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City leaders in Buffalo say they are trying to make parking more accessible downtown. They’re looking into a new parking plan that would add hundreds more spaces on the streets.

The new spaces would be near popular event spots such as Canalside and the KeyBank Center.

“What we have right now is probably one of the best problems any city can ask for and that’s more people coming into the City of Buffalo,” said Darius Pridgen, Buffalo Common Council President.

A proposal that is now in the hands of Common Council members would add about 750 metered parking spaces in the downtown area.

Some areas with ‘no parking’ signs would turn into new parking spaces.

Currently, the majority of spots downtown cost $1 an hour to park from 8 am to 5 pm. After 5 pm those parking spaces are free.

City officials now want to increase the rate to $2 an hour from 8 am to 10 pm.

“At a dollar an hour people were parking there and would come out and they would, what we call, quote on quote, feed the meter, and they were parking there all day long and what we’re trying to encourage is more turnover,” said Kevin Helfer, City of Buffalo Parking Commissioner.

Helfer hopes the rate hike will push long term parkers to park in a ramp or surface lot for a cheaper daily rate. He says that would leave more street parking for those making quick stops.

The parking plan also calls for eliminating some free parking areas at Canalside. From 4 pm to 10 pm people would now have to pay $2 an hour to park.

“For people who feel it’s a money grab, it’s actually not. It’s actually moving cars out so that people can get near attractions and get near businesses. If there were no meters in the City of Buffalo at all, there would probably be no parking,” said Pridgen.

City officials say it’s not clear how much revenue the new plan would generate, but they say the recent boom in Buffalo requires a new look at the city’s parking landscape.

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