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Change For The Parking Meters: DTLA Parking Experiment Is Watching You

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In an effort to improve the parking situation downtown, transportation officials have created an experimental "dynamic pricing" program called ExpressPark. The pilot program, approved Friday by the City Council, "seeks to impose some logic and radically change the way meter prices are set for more than 500,000 people who work or shop each day in the city's center," according to the L.A. Times.

Currently, the meter rates downtown range from $1-4 per hour based on an outdated "geographic boundaries" system. The new program will use sensors and other available technology to evaluate demand at approximately 6,000 sidewalk-located meters, and 7,500 spaces located in public parking facilities. Rates "would be adjusted to rise or fall no more than 50%."

ExpressPark will encompass a 4.5-square-mile area between the 10 and the 110 freeways and between Alameda Street and Adams Boulevard. Cost adjustments will be based on the demand for spaces at different times of the day, and the how long parked vehicles stay put.

The program, funded by federal grants totaling $15 million and $3.5 million in city money, is set to launch next month with the hope of new rates in April 2012.

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But what about the thousands of new credit card meters that were just installed last year? About 3,500 will need to be relocated to make room for the even newer ones.