New parking meters and higher rates coming to Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE - If you want free parking in downtown, then just leave your vehicle in a loading zone and don't worry about getting a ticket says one annoyed business owner on 3rd street.
"No one wrote any tickets today," said Bradley Bates, owner of men's clothing store Bates and Thigpen.
A lack of enforcement means people can illegally park with little fear of consequences. But for those less daring, there's another form of free parking: broken or missing meters.
There are currently 583 coin-operated parking meters in downtown with another 80 that have been stolen or need repairs. Between the lack of enforcement and the outdated meters, parking spaces downtown are not being used efficiently say city-parish officials.
"We use the police right now to write tickets which is not a modern way to do enforcement," said Darryl Gissel, Chief Administrative Officer for the Mayor-President.
The city-parish presented a proposal Thursday night to upgrade 912 metered spaces along with its two River Center garages with new technology. The new meters would accept credit cards while the fee to park would increase.
The increased revenue would pay for private companies to enforce and maintain the meters and garages. Gissel said bids for the new parking technology will go out in about 30 days and could be operational later this year.