CLEVELAND (AP) - The city may extend parking meter hours in a move to free up spaces for bar and restaurant patrons.
A City Council committee on Wednesday approved extending hours on weeknights from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The full council is expected to approve the ordinance next month.
Restaurant and bar owners have complained that their businesses are suffering because too many metered parking spaces are taken by downtown workers staying late or coming in for night shifts, forcing patrons into more expensive lots.
They claim that extending the meter enforcement time will lead to more turnover and give people coming downtown for food or entertainment a chance to find a meter.
"This is about creating more affordable parking for more people downtown," said Councilman Joe Cimperman, whose ward includes downtown.
Most of the area affected by the change is centered around the Warehouse and Gateway districts.
Safety Director James Draper said he knows of no other major city in the country that requires meters to be paid after 6 p.m.
Enforcing the new hours will require more manpower from the traffic bureau, he said.
Christine Rodgers, who works the late shift for SBC, said she relies on the meters for parking because she cannot afford private parking lots.
Cimperman said the city has obtained agreements from most downtown lot owners to let nighttime workers park in their lots for $2.