KENNETT SQUARE >> Kennett Square council Monday night agreed to increase parking meter fees by 33 percent beginning in January.
It will now cost $1 per hour to park at any parking meter in town, even at the parking garage at State and Union streets. The rate is currently 75 cents per hour, or 25 cents for 20 minutes. It is the first parking meter rate hike in 24 years.
Matt Fetick, Kennett Square mayor, defended the parking meter rate increase in a post by this newspaper on social media.
“What other costs haven’t increased in 20 years,” Fetick said. “All of the money generated from parking fees is used to maintain Borough owned parking facilities, surface lots and the garage. There are meters that need to be replaced and upgraded and the garage requires ongoing maintenance. The slight increase covers the expenses needed to maintain parking facilities.”
And the borough plans to increase parking meter enforcement times from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. A public meeting to decide on this has been set for Jan. 2, 2018 at 7 p.m.
In Oxford, parking meter fees are also $1 per hour, or 25 cents for every 15 minutes. But parking meter enforcement does not take place on Sundays. In Coatesville, parking meter fees are $150 per hour, or 25 cents for every 10 minutes. And parking enforcement is from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and is free on Sundays. In Downingtown, the parking meter rates fluctuate based on the section of town, but most meters are 25 cents for a half-hour and the kiosks at the train station are $1 per day. And enforcement is Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m., to 5 p.m.
Two years ago, new high-tech parking meters were installed. The Passport Parking app, which allows people to pay using an app on their cell phone, has increased parking meter revenue by 15 percent this year, bringing in roughly $1,000 per month.
PassportParking, a smartphone parking app makes it easier for motorists to pay for parking and allow them to add time to the meter without running back to their vehicle. Using the app, which is free to download for both iPhone and Android phones, motorists must open an account with either Visa, MasterCard or Discover, or load it with at least $20 with a debit card. Motorists must pay a 25-cent convenience fee every time the meter is accessed, which is debited from the user’s account immediately. To pay for parking, a driver must enter the six-digit zone number for the side of the street and block where the vehicle is parked. The zone numbers will be posted on street signs.
“I think the parking fund has been well managed and carefully maintained,” Fetick said.