City plans changes to downtown KC parking

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's no secret, it's pretty easy to beat the system when it comes to parking in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

But now, the city is stepping up its efforts to make parking easier for visitors while also ticketing offenders.

The biggest problem the city sees? People abusing parking meters. Downtown employees are parking at short-term meters, but staying all day and not paying.

Right now, the city only has two parking control attendants for all of downtown for 1,158 street meters and nearly 10,000 metered parking spaces.

"It's a different city than it was ten years ago. We now have an 18,000 seat arena, 400,000 square feet of retail and 20,000 residents. The parking that we had was somewhat obsolete," said Sean O'Byre, Vice President of the Downtown Council.

The city's new plan involves community input, new technology and more enforcement. The city plans to hire four more attendants to cover downtown.

Time zone parking areas will also be created to make it easier for visitors to find short-term parking. It will also give those attending events the option for long-term street parking.

"Parking in and around arena, restaurants, and theaters should be three hour as opposed to one hour," O'Byre said.

Michael Finnis and JC Klecko work downtown. While they both park in a garage, they do notice people taking advantage of the meters by not paying up.

"It seems like it's pretty easy, you know there's a lot of free parking areas and not a whole lot of enforcement you know. I have definitely parked downtown and gotten away with it," said Finnis.

Until more tickets get written, people may continue to take advantage of metered parking. Klecko said he believes people will start paying attention to the signs.

"I actually come from Philly where they take it very, very seriously, so I'm kind of used to it, so I think KC will wake up too, eventually," he said.

New signage could be up as soon as this summer and new attendants could be hired in the next three months, the city said.

The city also planned to create a phone option system for meters. The app will send you a text when the meter is almost up and you can extend it right from your phone using a credit card.

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