City to consider parking meter enforcement changes

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COLUMBIA - Enforcement of metered parking in downtown Columbia could go from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. starting in 2015. The Columbia City Council will vote Monday night on whether to amend its initial extension of meter enforcement times.

Currently, the city enforces downtown metered parking from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. In October, the council voted to extend the enforcement hours to 7 p.m. beginning next year.

It could change again as Public Works presents recommended changes gathered from the Downtown Parking Task Force, a city committee designed to provide recommendations on parking to the council.

Steven Sapp, public information specialist for Public Works, said the Downtown Parking Task Force told them that the current meter enforcement times are too early.

"Starting enforcement at 8 a.m. was futile because many businesses are not open then," Sapp said.

He said moving meter enforcement to 9 a.m. to 7 pm. would make more sense.

"That is during the prime times of parking downtown," Sapp said. "The enforcement of the meters is meant to create a turnover in the parking so that more people have the opportunity to visit businesses downtown."

The Downtown Parking Task Force submitted the report on Jan. 22, 2013. Sapp does not know why the council now wants to reconsider adopting the task force's proposed enforcement times.

"I do not know and cannot speak for the council as to why they are asking us to bring this back," Sapp said. "That is their desire, so that's what we are doing this evening."

The regular council meeting starts at 7 p.m.