NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Expect parking in New Orleans to cost you more come Monday. The city is raising parking meter rates and extending the hours you have to pay.
Rates will double in the French Quarter and the CBD to $3 an hour. Metered parking for the rest of the city will jump to $2 an hour. You'll also have to feed the meter an extra hour Monday through Saturday.
Many are not happy about that, including Stacy Martinez, who is a Magazine Street business owner.
"It's going to deter a lot of people from shopping downtown, Uptown, it's not good," Martinez said.
Chris Lane with New Orleans Citizens for Fair Parking agrees.
"We had hoped that it would go into effect after Mardi Gras," Lane said.
The group has been fighting the new rates, saying it will have a significant impact on those who work in the hospitality industry.
"These are people living paycheck to paycheck," said Mark Schettler with New Orleans Citizens for Fair Parking.
After hearing their concerns, the mayor did back off his original plan of extending meter hours until 10 p.m. The compromise? You now only have to pay to park until 7 p.m. New Orleans Citizens for Fair Parking said while that's a step in the right direction, there is still more work to be done.
"The unfortunate thing is their part of the compromise, the administration's part of the compromise, has yet to be developed, and that's a more affordable, reliable, RTA system," said Lane.
The mayor's office said in order to better serve residents and those who work in the French Quarter, the city is working with the New Orleans RTA to expand transit services, including bus line hours. But, New Orleans Citizens for Fair Parking said those new hours should have already been in place before the meter rates were raised.
"This is real money out of real people's pockets in the interim, and that's pretty disconcerting for us," Schettler said.
The city has said the new meter rules will bring prices in line with competitive market rates and improve commerce because they'll be able to better manage the city's limited number of curbside spaces, decrease congestion and increase accessibility. The mayor's office also tells us RTA expects those expanded services to start this spring.