City proposes parking fee increases

The Brayton Lot, 1 S. Butler St., is one of four city lots or garages included in a proposal to raise parking rates. Hourly rates in the Brayton Lot would increase by 20 cents to $2. Monthly rates would jump 6.6 percent for residents to $160 a month and 8.8 percent for nonresidents to $185 a month. 

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Parking rates at four of Madison’s busiest parking garages and lots could increase between 6.6 and 33 percent this summer.

The proposed rates include hikes for hourly, monthly and metered lots and garages at four Downtown parking facilities, which city parking officials say have some of the highest demand of its 11 parking lots and garages.

The biggest change would be a 33 percent increase in hourly rates at the State Street Capitol Garage, 214 N. Carroll St.

The hikes would help spread out parking to less-used facilities, said Sabrina Tolley, assistant parking utility manager for Madison. Revenue generated from the increases would be used to help pay for capital needs including future projects, repairs and maintenance.

“In general, all the Downtown garages have high demand,” Tolley said. “We typically do a rate change every three years to make sure we maintain sufficient reserves.”

The new rates would start June 1 if approved by the Madison Transit and Parking Commission.

The other parking ramps and lots in the proposal are: Brayton Lot, 1 S. Butler St.; State Street Campus Garage, 430 N. Frances St. and 415 N. Lake St.; and Wilson Lot, 499 E. Wilson St.

The proposal also sets parking rates for the new $18 million Capitol East District Garage and commercial space, 800 E. Main St., at 80 cents an hour.

The new Near East Side garage will have about 650 public parking stalls, 100 of which will be available to the public before 6 p.m. on weekdays. All 650 spaces will be open to the public on weekends and after 6 p.m. weekdays, Tolley said.

The city hopes to open the garage by August, she said.

In addition to the 33 percent increase to $1.20 an hour at the State Street Capitol Garage, rates would go from $1.30 to $1.50 an hour at the State Street Campus Garage, while hourly parking at the Brayton Lot would jump 20 cents to $2 an hour.

Drivers who pay for monthly parking at the Brayton and Wilson lots would see their rates rise between 6.6 and 8.8 percent.

Parking rates at the city’s other seven parking lots and garages would remain the same.

The increases in parking costs would help shift demand from high-use lots and garages to less-used ones, Tolley said.

“If we’ve got a facility that has high demand and it’s filling up, that’s an area where we’ll want to increase the rates,” she said. “The goal is that we have some availability at all times at all of our facilities.”

The increases are also meant to help encourage more people to use other forms of transportation to get to the Downtown area, Tolley said.

The Madison Parking Utility doesn’t yet have estimates on how much additional money the increases would raise, she said.

About 2,000 parking spaces would be affected under the proposal.

The Madison Transit and Parking Commission will discuss whether to schedule a February public hearing on the proposal at its Wednesday meeting.

If the request is approved, the commission would likely vote on the proposal in March.

Madison parking fees were last increased in 2016 in a system-wide rate change.

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Chris Aadland is a reporting intern for the Wisconsin State Journal.