It will cost $2 per hour—that's double the current price—to park at meters in downtown and along Main Street under new rate structure approved Tuesday night by the Santa Monica City Council.
All other meters in the city will cost $1 per hour, up from 75 cents.
It's the first change in meter rates since 2003.
It's estimated the city will rake in an additional $3.5 million in revenue yearly after the new rates take effect in October.
City officials said their intention is to better drivers' access to on-street parking by increasing prices at meters in high demand areas—such as the notoriously jammed downtown parking structures—and to encourage parking at less-popular parts of the city by lowering prices there.
Rates will be reduced by as much as 50 percent in infrequently used garages at the and . Parking in lots on Main Street will be cheaper, too.
"This should better distribute parking and minimize delays caused by people searching for parking," said Don Patterson, the city's assistant finance director. "We should see more spaces turn over more regularly."
In proposing the new rates, staffers drew on a new report from Walker Parking Consultants that assessed rates at private parking lots and in comparable cities. They also sought input from neighborhood groups and business associations.
Merchants on Main Street, which is lined with small, independently run boutiques and mom and pop shops, objected to the meter rate hikes.
"There are many small businesses that are just hanging on," said Laura Owen, who ownes . "I'm not interested in seeing it even hard for my customers to park."
She and several others also told the City Council on Tuesday night that it was unfair that shoppers could park for free for any amount of time in downtown garages, while those visiting Main Street have to pay.
Currently, it's free to park in downtown garages for two hours. Main Street lots currently cost $1 per hour with a 3-hour maximum. The City Council shaved 30 minutes off the length of time cars may park at no cost in the downtown structures, and lifted the maximum from the Main Street lots.
Going forward, city staffers said they will rely on new parking meter technology to adjust rates based on demand. The city that will report real-time, daily, and monthly parking space usage, including the average length of stay.
* for a full list, click on the pdf to the right of this article
First 2 hours Free
First 90 minutes Free Each additional 30 minutes $1
Next 1 hour $1 Daytime maximum $9
Every hour thereafter $3 After 6 p.m. $5
24 hour maximum $14 24 hour maximum $14
MAIN LIBRARY/CIVIC CENTER
Each 30 minutes $.50
First 30 minutes Free Daytime maximum $10
Each additional hour $1
Daytime maximum $5 CIVIC CENTER
Each 20 minutes $1.50
Daytime maximum $10
After 6 p.m., weekends $3
MAIN STREET LOTS
3 hour maximum $1/hour
No maximum $1/hour