New idea could overhaul parking in downtown Albuquerque

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ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Parking in downtown Albuquerque isn’t always easy. However, there’s a new idea that could make parking more efficient, using a cell phone app to find a spot and even pay the meter.

Over the years there’s, been complaints about parking in downtown Albuquerque. “One of the complaints is the limited parking, also that the parking meters don’t work sometimes,” said Zachary Hinds, who works downtown at the Gizmo store.

Now, City Councilor Isaac Benton is sponsoring a resolution that could make parking more efficient and convenient.

“It kind of removes the whole conversation of, ‘Oh well I’m not going to go downtown because there’s no parking,'” said David Silverman of Geltmore LLC.

Silverman is with one of the developers working on downtown’s Imperial Building. He said there is often a misconception that parking spots are not available downtown, and the city needs a better system.

Benton’s resolution, if supported, would set aside funds to study whether a Parking Benefits District would work in downtown Albuquerque. It would direct the city’s Department of Municipal Development to explore the concept as part of a larger study of downtown parking issues.

“The concept of dynamic pricing is certainly part of it,” Silverman explained.

That means the price to park would vary depending on location and demand. For instance, a driver may pay $5 an hour for a prime spot in front of a popular restaurant, but pay a dollar or less per hour a few blocks away from the action.

“Parking right in the center of everything should be priced more expensively whether on a 15 minute level, or an hour level, and parking that’s further away that requires a walk of several blocks should be priced less expensively,” Silverman told KRQE News 13.

Some local businesses along Central told News 13, they think the parking district could work well. “I mean it would take some getting used to, but if it would help the whole limited parking and the parking meters, I think it’d be a great idea,” said Hinds.

Drivers would also be able to use a smartphone app to find available parking spots and check prices ahead of time. The app could also be used to add time to meters.

“Being able to see like exactly where I need to park, it would make my life a lot easier,” said Alexander White, manager of Oasis Vape downtown.

Especially in the case of a big event, White said the app would be helpful. “I feel like the app would work greatly for that,” said White.

Silverman said the concept is already working well in other cities.

For visitors to be able to filter parking spots by price and plan ahead, Silverman said, “That just makes a whole lot of sense for a whole lot of people.”

Silverman said a portion of the revenue collected from the parking system would go toward making the area more attractive to people visiting downtown. “It’s marketing, it’s management, future supply that the district would basically look out for,” Silverman explained.

The resolution will first be considered by the city’s finance committee in March. Then, it would be heard at a city council meeting.

If approved, the city’s Department of Municipal Development would use consultants to perform an analysis of the plan. If the idea continues to be supported, it could take a couple years to implement.

Silverman said the concept can also spread beyond downtown, in places like Uptown and Nob Hill. “Areas where we’re going to have the ability to have dense commercial development,” Silverman added.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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