SANTA FE, NM – Anyone who has been to Santa Fe knows what a hassle it can be to park.
Now, a city councilor’s proposal to make it easier for drivers to get a spot in garages is getting closer to becoming a reality. The city is working to secure a $1.5 million loan from the New Mexico Finance Authority to bring parking in some of the city’s garages up-to-date.
City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler said the current parking revenue collection system is more than 20 years old, and they hope this money will help them monitor garages more efficiently.
City officials said their parking meters are up-to-date and connected through an app where people can pay online. They plan to have similar technology for the garages.
“The biggest thing is not having garages be manned as we do now,” Coppler said. “They are full-time staff. It will give people more ample time to leave their cars.”
The city estimates that the new system would increase parking revenues by $400,000 a year while cutting operating expenses by $200,000.
“It is more convenient for people to pay, and it is a more financially viable system for us because we can collect the money due without even physically collecting it there,” Coppler said.
The city said the garages to get the tech would be the Sandoval garage, Railyard garage and Convention Center garage. In order for this to move forward, city council will have to adopt an ordinance to incur the debt.
That ordinance will be introduced to two committees in the coming weeks. Then, it will go to the city council for a public hearing in late August. The city is also working on better signage to let people know that the parking garages are open 24 hours.