City proposes parking meters for downtown Amarillo

City proposes plan to bring street meters to Downtown Amarillo. (ABC 7 Amarillo- Jala Washington).

As downtown grows, something else new may be making its way into town. And, you'll feel it in your wallet.

In a city meeting on Thursday, city officials talked about a downtown parking management plan, that they plan to bring before the city council for approval as early as next week.

For years, downtown goers have been able to park on the city streets with ease. And that includes doing so without a fee.

David Penn lives in Amarillo, and says he enjoys going downtown often. But that he'll miss how things are now, if paying for parking becomes a reality.

"Saving money, would be the best part," said Penn.

And though paying for parking isn't ideal, Penn said it might not be all bad.

"Oh, [parking is] definitely unorganized," said Penn. "People just park wherever it doesn't say it's illegal."

Parking just wherever, will become a very structured somewhere. This means, each vehicle will have a designated spot, according to Director of Planning and Development Services Andrew Freeman.

"We've looked at a 90-block area which has a little over 1,900 spaces, and we're projecting about 1,500 spaces of those or so would be paid, on-street parking," said Freeman.

When parking up and down the streets of downtown, there won't be a physical meter coming up out of the ground, that someone puts change in. Instead, the idea is that there are going to be numbered signs telling a parker where and how to pay.

"It's all app-based, or phone-based," said Freeman. "So, you can either call, text, or use the app to pay for it."

Freeman said parking times will be for up to three hours, and it's possible one might pay $1.50.

"We think the benefits will be there. It's going to provide us the funding source for maintenance downtown," said Freeman.

Fast development in the area, is a driving force for potential paid parking. But with change, comes adjustment.

"Some people might dislike it, and might even boycott it a little bit," said Penn. "But it'll become a natural habit."

Freeman said if all goes as planned, they'll have the paid parking system up and running early next year.

He also said if this does happen, the Amarillo Police Department will be responsible for enforcing rules by scanning license plates that tie into the system, showing who has paid, and who hasn't.

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