[image-1] Parking in a city garage or on a curbside metered spot will cost the same starting on Monday, but the city is giving citizens a one-week grace period to get used to the longer enforcement hours.

Until now, clocking a parking spot on the street and speeding into it has come at the palatable price of $1 per hour — with free parking between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. and on Sundays.

That’s about to change thanks to the city budget approved by Charleston City Council in December; rates are scheduled to double and enforcement is set to extend until 10 p.m. beginning on Monday, April 16.

In a move announced this afternoon, the new meter rate of $2 per hour will roll out as scheduled on Monday, but for one week, the city has decided to take some mercy on those who ‘forget’ about the new later enforcement hours.

[image-2]Parking enforcement officers will issue written warnings instead of citations (and the associated $14 fines.)

“We want to provide citizens an opportunity to understand and adjust to these changes before we begin enforcing them,” said city spokesman Jack O’Toole in a statement.

A CARTA park-and-ride lot intended to ease the price burden for hospitality workers parking downtown will also begin running at 6 a.m. on Sunday. For a flat $5 fee, drivers can park at one of the lot’s 175 spots and hop on a “HOP” (Hospitality on Peninsula) shuttle with eight designated stops throughout downtown’s most popular hospitality destinations. The shuttles are expected to run every fifteen minutes.

Last month, more than a hundred workers protested outside of a City Council meeting against the metered parking price increase, which some see as unfairly burdensome to restaurant workers, many of whom already subsist on a legal wage of $2.13 an hour before tips.