Parking-meter increases to arrive in Old Town by July 10

       City parking meter rates are scheduled to increase July 1, but Old Colorado City won't be paying them until sometime after Independence Day.
       Crews will start the digital changeover on Old Colorado City's 137 meters late next week, with completion anticipated by July 10, Colorado Springs Parking Administrator Greg Warnke said this week.
       The new rates will give 20 minutes for a quarter, 8 minutes for a dime and 4 minutes for a nickel. The old rates were 25 (quarter), 10 (dime) and 5 (nickel).
       The rates will not increase at the lightly used city lot on the southwest corner of 26th and Cucharras streets. These rates will remain at 25 cents for an hour of parking and $25 a month. “Hopefully that will push some people off the street,” Warnke said. “But with three free lots (in Old Colorado City), it's hard to compete.”
       A high-tech meter feature will be the eventual capability to swipe a card through a digital reader on the device instead of feeding it change. This will not be seen in Old Colorado City, at least for a while. Warnke said the feature is initially budgeted for 2007 and only in the downtown. If it proves popular there, “It will spread out” to other places with meters, he said.
       With planned increases citywide, there have been discussions on how to use the additional money from the parking meters (about $11 million over the next five years). The Old Colorado City Security & Maintenance District has been approved for $100,000 in improvements, with the lion's share of that to pay for overlays of the three free lots. The district's committee is researching other possible parking money uses.

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