More parking meters to be added in West Campus

Lauren Florence

The Austin Transportation Department and University Area Partners neighborhood association approved a budget of almost $220,000 for street and traffic improvement in West Campus and are deliberating whether to add parking meters to the area.

Currently, there is only one parking benefit district in Austin, which is located in West Campus. Parking benefit districts make street parking more available by raising revenue from metered parking for street and sidewalk improvements, according to the transportation department website. Nina Lemieux, biology and Plan II junior and Student Government city relations director, did not mention any meter price changes for the future. 

University Area Partners is seeking approval from City Council to put the meters up over winter break, according to Lemieux.

Lemieux said the expansion will also allow smaller neighborhood associations in the area, such as Caswell and Shoal Creek, to put meters in their neighborhoods.

“I believe over the last three years, the current meters [have] paid for themselves and amassed $200,000 for [West Campus] improvements,” Lemieux said.

Possible locations of the meters are supposed to be revealed during a public meeting Wednesday evening at Newman Hall, Lemieux said. She said, after the meeting, SG’s city relations agency will send out a survey to students to gauge student opinion regarding the meters.

The city relations agency also discussed the possibility of decreasing the meter hours on Fridays and Saturdays from the current hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to discourage drunk driving, like the meters in downtown Austin, Lemieux said.

Mike McHone, member of the University Area Partners neighborhood association, said the additional $220,000 raised by the meters in the West Campus parking benefit district will also fund projects that University Area Partners and the transportation department have planned.

“Currently, we’re planning to do [a] streetscape — we did 23rd Street a few years ago,” McHone said. “We’re participating … with the City on their Rio Grande Street bike lane, and that’s supposed to start in February. We’re engineering right now the 25th Street [bike lane] extension that will go all the way from Guadalupe over, we hope, as far as we can get with the money.”

This article has been updated since its original posting. The budget might go toward parking meters, but has not been finalized, as the article originally stated. The city relations agency also discussed decreasing parking meter hours, not increasing them.