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Downtown parking rates going up

During downtown events (such as Bradley basketball games or Peoria Symphony concerts), the city-owned parking decks allow patrons to park for a flat rate of $5. That price may be going up on April 1 if the City Council passes a resolution at next Tuesday’s meeting. The resolution under consideration would raise rates one dollar to a $6 flat fee. The increase is estimated to bring in an additional $61,600 per year.

37 comments to Downtown parking rates going up

  • dude

    They better be careful. I remember when it was $4 just a short time ago. At this rate it will be $10 in a couple of years and people will quit using the city lots.
    I love how the city just keeps bumping up all these different fees every year. They want people to use the Civic Center yet they are just charging people out the butt from ticket prices to parking to food and drink. Just to go to a Bradley game is getting too expensive for the average guy to take his family to a game more than once a year.

  • The parking fee got bumped from $4 to $5 in 2003, about four and a half years ago. It’s already $6 to park in the Civic Center lot, to the best of my knowledge.

    As for the ticket prices for Bradley, concession prices, etc., that’s all in Bradley’s and the Civic Center’s hands. You can’t blame the city for that.

  • But C.J., it may not be the city’s fault that each individual indentity, including the city itself, raises prices, but the cumulative amount will eventually take its toll on how many people and how often they attend downtown events. If families have to cut back from 6 events a year to 3, in the long run, who does that affect?

  • I’m inclined to believe that the market will decide what the prices will be for tickets and concessions, regardless of what the city does with its parking rates.

  • septboy

    there are plenty of free places to park if you are willing to walk a little ways (and not that much farther than some of the pay lots). Another alternative is to give a donation to the Alzheimers Assoc & park in HCH’s lot, that way your money is helping a worthwhile org.

  • dude

    I agree walking a little bit to park for free is the way to go.
    I don’t see the market having a choice when the city keeps raising fees. You don’t have much of a choice on concession prices when you are at the Civic Center or a movie theater either. I guess your choice is to not eat or drink.

  • kohlrabi

    Aren’t the Peoria tax payers subsidizing the parking lots (and the Civic Center for that matter)? That’s what Gary Sandburh is always saying at the council meetings.

  • SD

    There probably are free parking spaces not too far. But if you are walking at 10 or 11 o’clock at night in that area by yourself coming out of an event or game it is not safe, or pleasant. Many family have to scrape to get money to go to events and some older people on limited income do the same. Now they won’t be able to afford to go to these things. Wake up Peoria you are pricing yourself out of the game.

  • SD

    There probably are free parking spaces not too far. But if you are walking at 10 or 11 o’clock at night in that area by yourself coming out of an event or game it is not safe, or pleasant. Many families have to scrape to get money to go to events and some older people on limited income do the same. Now they won’t be able to afford to go to these things. Wake up Peoria you are pricing yourself out of the game.

  • dude

    I agree except one thing. You mention “that area”. Check police reports and you will see that the downtown area BEFORE 2am is probably much safer than say oh I don’t know.. Northwoods Mall parking lot or many grocery stores in central or North Peoria. You are much more likely to get mugged in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Now between about 2am and 5am downtown Peoria on Main St could be a little riskier. Civic Center events are over mostly by 11pm

  • septboy

    the times I have parked in the free lots in “that area” I have not been walking alone- many others park there as well. Not to mention it is an open and well lit area.

  • kohlrabi – yes the City subsidizes the parking decks….if Councilman Sandberg weighs in he has lots of information on it. If they weren’t subsidizing them, the parking rates would be much higher than they currently are. Perhaps they should try the Reagan approach to pricing (similar to his tax approach) and lower the rates enough to generate more demand.

  • Gary Sandberg

    The property owner’s of Peoria subsidise one half (approximately) of all costs associated with downtown parking. Approximately $1,500,000 per year comes out of non parking revenue such as property taxes, utility taxes, garbage fees, sales tax revenues to offset the cost of construction, maintenance, and operation of downtown parking spaces, so all of you “marketists:, and the people who park in downtown parking decks but live outside Peoria thank those that pay half the costs. Sooooooooooo much for everyone’s “free parking” theory.

    Peoria taxpayer subsidy is the largest tax subsidy of a non basic City service that exists within the City of Peoria’s budget. The residents, and property owners of surrounding communities AND COUNTIES thank the Peoria taxpayers for paying half of the costs. (Sit outside after Civic Center event at corner of umph and effersonn counte numer of cars heading east OUT OF PEORIA over Michael Bridge as they smile knowing the taxpayers of Peoria helped financed one of their $4.75 beers at the Civic Center.)

    Drink up!

  • Sandberg as always is right. They should raise the costs to cover the city’s cost period even if it is $20. Try parking in any major city for less than that. Even when the Bears played at UofI the parking was $20. If Bradley or the events at the Civic Center are good enough, people will show up and they will pay to park.

  • Thanks for the additional details Gary.

    While I think that there should be general market forces at work on the parking situation, it maybe useful to maintain some subsidy in order to prevent other negative effects – but the City should definately explore some options. How about putting out an RFP (like they did with the Gateway building) to see if anyone wants to buy or lease a nice parking deck in downtown Peoria.

  • Actually, one of the last events I went to at the Civic Center, I took the bus. the bus stop is about two blocks from my house and we all know where the bus station is downtown. A little inconvenient time wise, but it beats searching for a spot to park and then fight 5000 other cars trying to get home. It was more of an experiment than a cost savings measure, but I would definitely entertain the thought again in the non winter months.

  • kcdad

    Wait a minute… what is reason behind charging for parking? Is it a market driven activity? It is to create competition for parking places? Is it to discourage people laving their cars on tehstreets for long periods? Is it to encourage poeple to NOT drive their cars downtown? OR… is it simply to increase city revenues?
    Because if it is ANY of the former reasons, perhaps an increase is required to stabilize the parking availabilities. If it is the latter… then I would rather see the city cut their expenses than just take a deeper suck from the community teat. Like maybe decide on whether we want a mayor OR a city manager. Like maybe shut down District 150 and take over those responsibilities.

  • dude

    Who pays for the free city owned lots on upper Main St? Those aren’t metered or patrolled. What about the free parking down on State Street around the post office and Kelleher’s. Why don’t those areas have parking meters? Lots of lost revenue there if the city is looking to pick up some extra cash. If the city wants anyone to work downtown or visit downtown there has to be parking. We can’t charge what it really cost as no one would pay it. We are not a major city like Chicago and as a result cannot charge those rates. Downtown is a unique area in our community with limited places to build surface parking. There has to be decks and decks are expensive but without them downtown would be ghost town. It is still cheaper than all the money the city spends to expand north to build new streets and keep expanding city services.

  • Interesting article on parking and rates in WSJ the other day:

  • Dude — There is no such thing as “free parking.” No matter where you go, somebody is paying for that parking. Do you park at the Shoppes at Grand Prairie? Do you think that parking lot descended from the sky? Nope. Cullinan built it, along with the buildings, and the cost of that parking is worked into the rent that businesses pay, and that in turn is worked into the price the customers pay for goods and services.

    Why should downtown be any different? Businesses downtown can subsidize the parking for their customers if they want their customers to have free parking — just like every other retailer in Peoria does who is outside of downtown. Ever heard of validated parking?

  • dude

    Why not more parking meters in the downtown area? That “free“ on street parking on State St. cost the city to maintain (striping, signage, snow removal etc.) but yet it is “free” for the neighboring business’s customers and tenants. I understand that is just outside the B-1 district but it’s lost revenue. Oh wait- where is Sandberg’s office, hum…Corner of State and Water St? I believe the mayor works right across the street in the Elm building also. This is just one example, there are many other areas in the downtown with similar situations. Oh course we could take the opposite approach and do what some progressive cities have done and get rid of parking meters all together to encourage people downtown. It can still be monitored for abuse in other ways.

    Bottom line if we want business to locate downtown the city has to treat that area different than other areas of town. If a business wants to locate on North Allen Rd. then there is cost related to that in the form of additional fire stations, more police utilities such as sewer, more snow removal. It stretches our resources the farther the city grows north. For the most part if someone builds something new downtown you already have infrastructure in place. You don’t have to build more roads, add fire and police etc. It cost more to build downtown and/or locate your business downtown than out north. You don’t think it would be cheaper for a bank or Cat to just locate their offices in a corn field than be downtown? If that’s want we want as a community then your right we should just start charging the downtown business’s actual cost for parking and over the next few years you will see it all start shifting out north.
    Oh course I don’t want to subsidize all the growth out north either, that wouldn’t be fair.

  • The Mouse

    “Try parking in any major city for less than that.” Hello! Peoria is NOT a major city. Parking is already more expensive in Peoria than most mid-size midwestern cities. Bradley basketball is not the NFL. When are some Peorians going to get these delusions of grandeur out of their heads? That said, let the market sort it out. The Peoria airport had to offer free parking when people started using Bloomington-Normal’s airport. That’s competition. It’s a good thing.

  • dude

    the problem with is if people stop going to civic center events because the costs are too high it just ends up costing the citizens of Peoria because they just go back to the tax payers and ask for more money to bail them out.

  • “because they just go back to the tax payers and ask for more money to bail them out.”

    Go back? Uh, I must have missed it. When did it stop? Every time you turn around some identity is sticking out their hand wanting $$ for their cause and if that doesn’t work the words “Raise Property Taxes” comes out of their mouths and off they run to the nearest taxing body.

  • The Mouse

    dude/Chef have a very good point. But, if you can’t stop electing these clowns, then you move out of the taxing district. A lot of people have done that. Eventually Peoria will be a few rich and many poor, and the fat cat developers and politicians can enjoy lording over the place like midevil princes, without the rest of us bothering them.

  • Gary Sandberg


    My office is at 1810 Bigelow Street.

    Using your rational, there would be parking meters everywhere including in front of my home/ office as well as your home. Someplace there would have to be a line where parking meters exist and where they do not exist.

    Parking meters are put in place to provide “parking turnover”, not revenue. If parking meters did not exist in the central business district, only the earliest workers to work would find parking spaces and the “customers” for the central business district would not find parking spaces by the time the workers took up all the spaces.

    For those of you that eat/drink at Kellehers bsck by Kitchen or visit City Hall fourth floor, study the arieal photograghs of downtown Peoria in the 50’sand early 60’s and you will see few surface lots and lots of building in the urban center. Today that is NOT the case. Surface parking lots makeup a large percentage of the downtown area and in combination with the subsidized parking owned by government, the market forces are “twisted”.

    Prior to the City building it’s first parking deck in the late 1970’s (the Jefferson Deck across from Civic Center), several privately owned parking decks existed charging market rates. With the first and subsequent government owned decks, it is mpossible for a private entity to built, maintain, operate parking structures when the major supplier, charges half what it costs to provide the parking space.

    Selling the decks is a solution unless the City takes the money received for selling and builds or subsidizes more parking decks keeping true market forces in balance.

  • Gary: Why not make a motion on Tuesday that the city staff come back with a request that the city publish a request for proposals for private ownership of all City of Peoria owned parking decks. Either that, or just put up a for sale sign and unload the damn things to whoever assumes the debt.

  • dude

    “Parking meters are put in place to provide “parking turnover”, not revenue.”
    Yea right.
    Then why don’t we just put up 2hr parking limit signs and save on the cost of meters if turnover is all we are after. And if the city wasn’t after money from the meters then why do the meters all say on a little sign in them you must pay for Saturday parking? Our former city manager blew me off when I asked him about that a few years ago. I see out of town visitors and our own citizens feeding the meters on Sat when no one patrols them. What a scam.

    I am not suggesting meters all over town, just spots like Water and State that have a very high amount of parkers that could be generating revenue for our poor city. Oh course the property owners and tenants down that way would not be able to park on the street all day for free then.

  • Two-hour parking limit signs? And how would that be enforced, dude? Have parking enforcement chalk the tires of all the cars downtown all day? I think the meters are probably a bit more efficient, and the revenue helps defray the cost of enforcement.

  • Mahkno

    I Germany, instead of parking meters, they had these clever machines, one per block usually, that you put your money in, and it gave you a little receipt. The newer ones took debit cards. The receipt showed the time you paid and the time that your parking privilege expired. You placed the receipt in your drivers window. The parking enforcer just had to look at the receipt and check their watch.

    The other commonly used practice, in less demanding areas that had timed parking, involved a little plastic toy like clock. You placed the hands to identify when your parking expires and placed in the drivers side window. Again the parking enforcer merely needed to check their watch to determine if you were current or not.


  • BeanCounter

    The lot on Water street in front of the antique center is free two hour parking during the week. I think they enforce it by chalking tires. They come by at x time and draw a chalk line of one of the tires of every car in the lot, come back at x+2 hours and ticket everyone with a chalk line. Nothing is fool proof, but I think it is a pretty good system.

  • BeanCounter — They actually use a thing called ParkTrak, which is like an electronic tire-chalker. The parking enforcement officer scans the license plates of parked cars, then comes back two hours later and scans them again. ParkTrak can recognize if there are any license plates that were there two hours before and prompts the officer to write a ticket for any that are.

    The city is trying this on a one-year trial basis with a part-time city employee doing the enforcement. The trial period will be up in May.

  • dude

    Not the case. They are chalking tires down there. National Garages was authorized by the city to chalk and ticket in those lots. From what I hear the system has been working great with few complaints. The city should consider it in all of downtown expecially since we are not patrolling parking meters for the revenue, its just to create turnover as Garry said. I say get rid of all the meters and go to the chalk system in all of towntown. Just post time limits in those spots instead. Maybe it would help the attitude of the parking enforcement officers too.

  • Again, dude, the revenue that the meters bring in helps defray the expense of having someone to enforce parking. If we get rid of the meters, but we still have to have just as many people patrolling downtown to enforce parking limits, how do you propose we cover the increased costs of your plan?

  • dude

    raise taxes, HRA, real estate taxes, toll roads, red kettle at the entrance to city hall?
    But really you need to look at the big picture. If parking is free then you may have more business’s wanting to locate downtown which would incress sales tax revenue over all. You have to spend money to make money. Somebody mentioned the airport. They were loosing business to Bloomington who had free parking. Once they started offering free parking business has gone up. It’s just part of the big picture.

  • Gary Sandberg


    Check back over your property tax bill over period when airport went to “free parking” and I believe the rate for the Airport Authority went up between 20% and 25%. Of course all those that live outside Peoria County thank those of us in Peoria for picking up the cost for their free parking.

    As for the alternative enducement systems to provive turnover, they are labor intensive and if you establish 2hour limits, with a circulating person that becomes 4 hours in cases. Tieing up some parking spaces for 4 hours in a two hour location because the car chalker chalked at 8:00 abd the car is parked at 8:05 and then the car chalker comes back at 10:00 and the car that wasn’t there finally gets chalked at 10:00 is is finally a violation at 12:00. If you are satisfied with two hours, you have just doubled your labor coasts and that does not take into consideration that in many locations, the businesses served want a 30 minute turn around. Now you have quadtrupled your labor costs. Labor costs comes with benefit packages and legacy costs so unless you raise the fees associated with labor intensive enforcement, the only alternative is to establish a new fee on homeowner’s water bill called a parking fee (which is or would be garbage), oppppssssss thats already been acoumplished.

    Have you ever thought about just using public transportation and save the price of gasoline and vehicle costs and parking costs or like myself occasionally just walk downtown?

  • peoria bites

    Gary, you have an answer for everything.
    It was always a running joke when I was growing up how Peoria is so behind the times and will never catch up. I should of got out while I could. I wonder why zero growth is predicted for Peoria? Maybe its the attitude of those in charge and those who really don’t want to see change or anything really good happen.