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Billings to increase parking rates, to install new 'smart meters - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

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Billings to increase parking rates, to install new 'smart meters'

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BILLINGS -

The City of Billings wants to better your downtown parking experience, but it won't come without a price.

On Monday, city council unanimously agreed to the parking fee increases.

The change will help generate further funding for maintenance on aging parking garages as well as striping throughout downtown.

With three city-owned parking garages, parking planners will shift rates including changing the first hour in the garages free of cost.

Several streets will see as many as 150 new meters, focused along North Broadway, which will allow you to pay with a card.

If you run low on time, you will be able to use an app to add time to the meter without running to your vehicle.

Rates will jump to $1 dollar per hour on those meters while old meters would jump to 75 cents per hour.

But officials don't believe it will be a negative impact to downtown traffic and those who visit.

"If the downtown has something attractive for the public," Tracy Scott said, city parking manager. "I think people will come down no matter. At least those people I've talked to and bounced the idea off of the rate increase, usually the reply is they can't believe how inexpensive our parking is right now, that we're one of the lowest."

The smart meters will cost the city $665 dollars per unit -- $465 for the unit itself, plus another $200 for installation.

The new hourly fees will take effect in November.

Click here to read more on the changes.

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