Bloomington began enforcing fines on downtown parking meters Monday, and some homeowners are complaining the meters are pushing people to park in residential areas.
Bloomington residents that live just outside of downtown say they have noticed fewer spots to park on the streets in their neighborhoods and an increase in congestion. They do not know the cause for sure, but they speculate it’s because drivers are trying to avoid the increased cost of parking downtown.
Leila Wood lives in one of these neighborhoods. She has complained to the city, but wishes that city officials had warned her and her neighbors about the increase in traffic.
“I think that what the city could have done is communicated more with the people who are in the residential areas, said ‘we can anticipate there might be some more parking on your streets, here’s who you can call, here’s what you can do if it becomes a problem,'” she says.
Susie Johnson, Bloomington’s director of public works, says she thinks the increase in traffic is not due to the meters but instead can mostly be attributed to the students moving in for the fall semester.
“This is the move-in period. We have thousands and thousands of people that are moving into Bloomington, all in, for the most part, a two week period,” she says. “So I think that for us to talk about parking patterns in this the first two weeks is not necessarily how it’s going to be moving forward.”
It’s estimated the new parking meters will generate an additional $3.1 million in revenue for the city.