Missouri House bill would ban cities from using on-street parking meters

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 7:43 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - A bill circulating in the Missouri State Legislature would ban any city or county from charging people to park on the street.

That means all on-street parking meters would be gone in the state, or at least unenforceable.

Ketan Patel was plugging his meter on Thursday, something he doesn’t particularly enjoy.

“It is extremely annoying,” said Patel.

He said putting money in the meter initially is fine, but he doesn’t like to worry about going back and making sure he has time on the meter.

“It’s not so much so about a few coins, it’s about getting a ticket, worrying about it,” said Patel.

The bill is sponsored by Kansas City-area Rep. Josh Hurlbert, who thought of a possible bill after getting a ticket and believes cities just don’t need to charge drivers to park on public roads.

“Parking meters are just an outdated mode of keeping traffic moving, and I think there is just more innovative ways to do it than putting a coin in a parking meter every time,” said Hurlbert.

He said taxpayers are already paying for the roads and shouldn’t need to pay to park on them.

“It’s also double-charging taxpayers for that road, that road was already paid for by the gas tax,” said Hurlbert.

It’s clearly a popular idea for some, including Carmen Tarzon, who gets annoyed about parking in downtown Clayton.

“I don’t think it is realistic, but I think it would be wonderful,” said Tarzon.

The bill would still allow cities to enforce time limits on public parking. But they’d have to fund that enforcement by other means.

The St. Louis City Treasurer Adam Layne testified as an opponent Wednesday and said the meters force people to move their cars.

“It doesn’t make the city rich, but it does allow us to control traffic flow and make sure people do have safe access to their cars and vehicles and knowing we’re going to have turnover at our meters,” said Layne.

The City of St Louis made a net revenue of $6 million in fiscal year 2022 from on-street parking. In that same span, Clayton made $845,000.

That amounts to nearly 3 percent of Clayton’s general fund budget, which like most cities, is used to fund the police and fire department, as well as roads.

City Manager of Clayton David Gipson told News 4 city leaders will wait to see if the bill gets out of committee before the city fights to keep their meters.

As for St. Louis, it can use up to 40 percent of parking revenue on operating expenses. News 4 has yet to hear back on how much of the money goes to operating expenses, or where the rest of the money goes.