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12:46 pm
Wed July 20, 2011

Extension of Downtown Parking Meter Hours Could Be Further Delayed

The extension of downtown parking meters was already delayed once, from August 1 to September 6, because of delays in equipment orders. But now politics could push that date back even further.

The new rules would extend downtown parking meter hours to run from 8 am until midnight from Monday through Saturday. Currently, meters run from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm.

The extension would also affect meters throughout Austin. Outside the downtown core, meters would run from 8 am until 6 pm.

City council voted 6-1 in March to adopt the new hours. Council Member Laura Morrison was the lone dissenter.

But now Morrison has a new political ally on council. Newly elected Council Member Kathie Tovo told YNN Austin that some legitimate concerns about the extension “weren't necessarily aired before the council vote.”

Tovo and Morrison plan to introduce a measure at next week’s council meeting that would delay the extended hours, pending further review and public input.

This morning, in a conversation with KUT News, Mayor Lee Leffingwell said nothing was ever set in stone.

“Certainly I’m sensitive to people that it’s going to inconvenience, and I want to hear those stories, and I’m open to changes to it,” Leffingwell said.

Meanwhile, a political group associated with Texans for Accountable Government is trying to organize public opposition to extensions of parking meter hours.  Austinites Against Metered Parking Extension Downtown (A.A.M.P.E.D.) held a news conference yesterday, urging people to write their council members.

The city expects the extension to raise $4.3 million in additional revenue that would be poured into an urban rail system and other improvements to downtown sidewalks and amenities.

Here’s what some people downtown told us about extended parking meter hours.