New, Simpler Parking System Begins Today in Downtown

An adult paying for an on-street parking space at a parking kiosk

The Austin Transportation Department is adopting a more flexible street parking system with more intuitive regulations and new technology to improve the parking experience for all travelers. The new system adopts a “pay-by-plate” system where users paying at a parking kiosk simply enter their license plate number, so users will no longer need to display a sticker for their parking session.

The new system lifts current parking space time limits, adjusting all spaces in all parking zones to a uniform maximum stay time of 10 hours, and links the time spent at a parking space to a new, tiered parking fee structure. This allows travelers to add time to their parking session as needed to complete their trip without overstaying a time limit, and discourages people seeking to use on-street parking spaces as their commuter parking space.

“Simplifying the parking system will improve the customer experience of parking in Austin and optimize the use of our curb space” said Austin Transportation Parking Enterprise Manager Jason Redfern. “These changes will also reduce parking citations issued for people overstaying time limits simply because they needed a few more minutes to complete their business.

For a consistent user experience, the first two hours will remain unchanged at the City’s $2 hourly base rate. Additional hours after that first two-hour experience will increase in cost to encourage turn over and good customer use of on-street parking capacity. Austin Transportation encourages travelers needing quick access to curb space to use the Park ATX mobile payment app and the codes FREE15ATX1 and FREE15ATX2 for two free 15-minute parking sessions, valid every 24 hours.

Downtown employees who are looking for low-cost, long-term parking solutions can apply for affordable daily and monthly rates through the Affordable Parking Program at AustinTexas.gov/AffordableParking.

The new 10-hour parking rate structure is shown in the following table.

New Parking Rate Structure:
 

Hour(s)Rate Per HourParking Session Cost
1st$                2.00$           2.00
2nd$                2.00$           4.00
3rd$                3.00$           7.00
4th$                3.50$         10.50
5th$                4.00$         14.50
6th$                4.50$         19.00
7th$                5.00$         24.00
8th$                5.00$         29.00
9th$                5.00$         34.00
10th$                5.00$         39.00

The increasing variable rate will encourage commuters to park off-street in a public or private garage. Currently, a commuter can rent daily parking at one of the Convention Center garages for just $5 per day. Austin Transportation is working with area garages to provide affordable early bird and all-day parking throughout the downtown.

Austin Transportation has been testing pay-by-plate technology since June 1, 2019, along Toomey Road across 14 single space meters, 22 pay stations covering 179 managed parking spaces, and is ready to expand the system citywide.

The pay-by-plate changes will be in place starting Sept. 1, 2020. Pay stations will start being converted downtown first and then through the rest of the city’s 8,000 plus paid parking spaces. The conversion will take place over the next six to eight weeks.

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