After push from mayor, ACDA will reconsider weekend parking fees
Updated at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, June 24
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz is urging the Anchorage Community Development Authority (ACDA) to rethink their decision to add weekend parking fees in downtown Anchorage.
In a letter to ACDA operations committee chair Dick Stallon, Berkowitz said having hourly parking fees on Saturdays could cause “unintended, negative economic impacts” and suggests the ACDA study the issue further before making a decision and implementing the new rule.
“By pausing to study and document parking patterns and trends in downtown Anchorage, we can give the community confidence that policy decisions match the community’s long-term goals and vision,” Berkowitz stated.
Earlier this month, ACDA announced the new rule, which was largely met with frustration from the public.
In a phone interview Friday, EasyPark parking director Brian Borguno said ACDA has decided to put the fees for Saturday parking on hold and re-evaluate that part of their plans in order to address the mayor’s concerns. But he added it won’t stall the other updates, like increases for monthly permits and street meters, that will take effect July 1.
Borguno explained the decision to charge at the meters on Saturdays was not made hastily.
“We spent the last year, year and a half or so, doing community outreach and analysis and we think we’ve got a good plan,” he said.
Part of that research was meeting with other downtown groups, as well as an online survey that asked for community input. Burguno said ACDA received a good amount of feedback through the survey, though he later said he wasn’t surprised by people’s response.
“There’s always going to be a few folks we maybe we weren’t able to connect with initially and I think that that’s probably part of the mayor’s concern,” he said. “And that’s why we don’t have a problem slowing things down again.”
It’s not necessarily about revenue, but it’s a trade-off for other benefits EasyPark could offer, Burguno noted. Taking Saturday fees off the table will have a direct effect on other pieces of EasyPark’s program, like expanding the “first hour free” program to seven days a week.
“If we have to go back to rethinking, we have to rethink it across the board and what other things we could do differently,” he said. “For us, it wasn’t a revenue push but a change in behavior to encourage use of the underutilized areas.”
The ACDA’s original changes stated Saturday parking fees would go into effect on July 1. Meter parking would require payment between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
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