The Federal Hill Business Association (FHBA) has been lobbying for less expensive parking meter rates in Federal Hill for several years. The Parking Authority of Baltimore, after also receiving input from the Federal Hill Hospitality Association (FHHA), the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association (FHNA) and the South Baltimore Neighborhood Association (SBNA), has decided to make changes to the parking meters in Federal Hill. Parking rates will decrease, but the hours of enforcement will increase.
Previously parking meters were enforced Monday through Saturday from 9am-6pm at $2.00/per hour with a two hour maximum. Meters will now be enforced seven days a week with changes in the rates. From 10am-5pm rates will be $1.50/per hour and from 5pm-9pm rates will be $2.00/per hour. There will be a three hour maximum at all times.
As the Parking Authority was looking for a revenue neutral solution, the extended hours were needed to justify the lower rates from 10am-5pm. Federal Hill is one of the five areas in the city with $2/per hour parking rate, joining Mt. Vernon, Fells Point, Harbor East and Downtown. Meters on Washington Blvd. in Pigtown are $1/per hour, meters in Hollins Market are $.20/per hour and meters in Hampden are $.50/per hour. Canton no longer has parking meters.
Several groups in the area opposed these changes, including FHHA, which is comprised of many of the bars and restaurants around Federal Hill. “By lowering the rate during the day and adding hours, we feel you have pushed the burden to the hospitality sector,” said Brian McComas, president of FHHA. “$.50/per hour will not save an ailing business, and my lunch business (Ryleigh’s) is better than it has ever been. This has also made it much more difficult on the residents.”
The FHNA also opposed the change. “I don’t know one neighbor who is supportive of what happened. We have a parking crisis in areas 19, 30 and 9, and neighbors rely on those spots to park after 6pm,” said Eric Costello, president of FHNA. “Zero evidence was presented to show that dropping the rates $.50/per hour would make a difference.” Costello noted that continuing to use those spots from 6-9pm each day would cost residents $120/month and more than $1400/year.
The SBNA took a neutral stance on the changes. The FHBA could not be reached for comment by the time of publication.