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A buck an hour for city parking meters

Fifty-cent-an-hour parking meters will soon be a thing of the past in Buffalo.

Sometime this spring, all the spots will cost $1 an hour.

This latest increase will affect about 1,100 spots on Hertel and Elmwood avenues and other city streets. When the change is complete, all 2,900 metered and pay-to-park spots on city streets will cost $1 an hour.

The city’s 1,800 other parking meters and pay-to-park spots previously were increased to a dollar.

The change is expected to increase city parking revenue by about $300,000 or so annually.

But the main reason the city is raising the rate is to discourage people from parking for long periods of time at metered spots in business districts, Parking Commissioner Kevin Helfer said.

“This is to encourage turnover,” Helfer said.

The city is in the process of purchasing new signage and meter mechanisms that must be installed before the change is made. It’s anticipated the items will be installed in early spring, when the rates will increase to $1 an hour.

Also this spring, the city is expected to begin offering a “pay by cell” program at metered and pay-to-park spots. Once the city updates its technology, motorists would be able to download a mobile app allowing them to pay for parking on their cellphone. The “pay by cell” option would be in addition to paying by meter or at the pay-to-park machines.