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Tucson looking to end free parking after 5 p.m.

TUCSON – The City of Tucson is considering a new plan that could end free parking in the downtown area.

Under the plan, the city would end free parking until midnight, enforce a time limit and raise rates in certain areas depending on demand.

City officials say the plan is a result of a new study that looked at ways the city could better move traffic around downtown.

“There’s no turnover for the on-street parking and the idea is to get some turnover, have people opening spaces up for new customers to come in and so that was one of the recommendations in this parking study,” said Mike Graham with the Tucson Department of Transportation.

Other changes proposed in the plan include:

  • charging 7 days a week around the Tucson Convention Center
  • offer more affordable parking further away from high-occupancy areas
  • raise rates to $1.50/hour around Congress Street
  • raise rates to $1.25/hour in the rest of downtown
  • raise rates to $1.25/hour to $1.50/hour around the Tucson Convention Center

News 4 Tucson spoke with several businesses who say they are worried the increased costs might turn away customers.

“It definitely raises concerns about customers being able to shop here,” said Morgan Miller with Antigone Book.

Miller says she’s also worried about employee’s finding a place to park and non-customers taking advantage of her free lot.

City officials say the plan is still in its early stages and will likely not go before city council for several months.

The changes would primarily impact downtown, Main Gate and Fourth Avenue areas.

Nick VinZant

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