New parking plan keeps meters free on weekends and after 7 p.m. during week

The Urban County Council tonight gave initial approval to a compromise agreement with LexPark to return to free parking at downtown meters on weekends and after 7 p.m. on weekdays, Mayor Linda Gorton announced.

Gorton negotiated an agreement with LexPark to assist downtown businesses. Several downtown restaurant owners had expressed concerns after LexPark recently increased parking rates and expanded enforcement hours.

“We have worked hard over many years to make Lexington’s restaurant scene one of the nation’s best, and to keep our downtown lively,” Gorton said. “As we emerge from the pandemic, we don’t want to harm our restaurants or downtown night life by limiting parking options.”

Beginning July 1, the city will increase the amount it pays to park 620 employee vehicles, including police cruisers, in downtown garages operated by LexPark. Currently the City pays 50% of market rate for employee parking. Under the new plan, the city will pay the government rate, an increase of about $200,000 a year. LexPark needed additional revenue to make safety improvements.

“I am so pleased that the Lexington Parking Authority and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government have come together to find common ground on resolving this issue” said Board Chair, James Frazier, chair of the LexPark Board. “The administrations’ efforts were crucial to brokering a good resolution for all.” LexPark is expected to vote on the plan next week.

Vice Mayor Dan Wu and Third District Councilmember Hannah LeGris also supported the work to find a compromise.

LexPark, or the Lexington & Fayette County Parking Authority, provides, maintains and operates public meters and parking garages, including the Helix Garage on Main Street, the Courthouse Garage on Barr Street, the Victorian Square Garage on Short Street, and the Transit Center on Vine Street.

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