Changes Coming to Downtown Parking Meters Starting Next Week

DES MOINES, Iowa  --   Starting next week, parking meters in downtown's Court Avenue District will begin charging on weeknights and Saturdays.

Starting on Wednesday, meters will charge for parking from 9 a.m. through 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday instead of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. as part of the Park Downtown Des Moines Program.

The change is a welcomed relief for businesses like Vivian's Diner and Drinks, whose owner, Jeff Duncan, says a lack of parking has impacted foot traffic. Duncan hopes more parking will generate more profits.

"The idea is that you should be able to drive down here around the block and at least see one to two spaces open or being open."

Aside from street parking also comes changes to city-owned parking garages--the city will lower the hourly rate by a dollar. The changes aren't sitting well with many downtown-goers even though they know parking is an issue.

"I'd rather not have to pay at all to have to park. I don't want to come out every two hours to put money in the meter, especially on cold days like this."

However, businesses say the changes are necessary.

"A lot of people say, come on, Des Moines. If you want to be a big city, you gotta walk a few blocks, this and that. Well Des Moines is not ready for that, they want convenience and consistency," says Duncan.

Plans for the program include implementing the same changes in the East Village in spring and in Western Gateway Park over the summer. All phases of the transition will be complete by the end of the year.