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Paid parking lots in Cedar Falls raise concerns for businesses and residents

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Photo courtesy of City of Cedar Falls
Photo courtesy of City of Cedar Falls

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KWWL) - Residents and local business employees have to pay for parking in certain lots in the downtown and College Hill areas.

Having started on October 1, the City of Cedar Falls created these paid lots in order to allow for more flexible long-term parking options for visitors to the area.

Though the parking lots are only charging 50 cents, residents are now feeling that this is unfair for those who live in the area.

“We found out that it would be 35 dollars for each vehicle to park here a month and We each have a vehicle so that would be 70 dollars a month for us just to park behind where we live," Cedar Falls resident Alex Barker said.

The 15-minute, two, three, and 24 hour parking spots in front of the businesses on Main St. are still free. The public parking lots around the downtown and College Hill area are the only ones that require payment.

Business owners say that their employees now have to worry about paying to come to work.

“It’s just you know more money out of their pockets when they’re already not making as much as they used to because of COVID. We have limited capacity now. It’s just more of a strain on everyone,” bar manager Wendi Roed said.

However, a City of Cedar Falls representative says that those residents and employees still have options to park for free in the downtown Cedar Falls area.

"Viking Pump. They allow the public to use their lots after their business hours, so employees can obviously park there as well. There's about 31 free stalls that is long-term 24 hour parking over by City Hall as well. So really employees and everybody still have options for free long-term parking. It's just in these public lot areas, they're the paid parking," City of Cedar Falls Communications Specialist Amanda Huisman said.

Another concern that was raised, was if the city is planning to raise the price of parking in the future. The answer was "no." Also, the question of whether the city got the money paid at the lots, or the third party company who's name is on the signs has also been asked.

“That’s the city. This company that operates the smart pay system is just the technology. So any revenue that comes from parking goes to repairing the parking lots…things like that. It all goes back to parking,” Huisman said.

Since this development is fairly new to the city, many cars have been ticketed simply because the drivers forget that they need to pay.

“I thought it was two hour parking but apparently that’s changed recently...kind of frustrating,” University of Northern Iowa junior Andrea Barrett said.

Each ticket is $10 each.

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Diego Hernandez

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