The Grand Junction City Council approved a downtown parking rate hike in last Wednesday's meeting. The increased fee starts next week.

I've only lived here 10 months and already got my first parking ticket. A few months ago I was having lunch downtown. I dropped a few dimes into the machine and thought I'd be fine only to come back and discover a ticket on my window. I was only a couple minutes late and boom, busted!

Ray Michaels

Those "few dimes" will be a few more starting next Thursday when the cities nearly 1,000 parking meter rates increase. Parking enforcement will increase too. Instead of just the one "meter maid" (or dude), there are now nine patrol officers keeping an eye on the machines. According to officials, there will be three patrol officers at work at a time. The odds are slim you'll get away without paying to park.

Ray Michaels

A reminder too, the empty lot at Seventh Street and Ute Avenue will be available for downtown employees to park for free. Parking along Main Stree will remain free as well.

And if you're wondering, yes, there's an app for that. The info is posted on the meters explaining on how you can use your smartphone to pay. It will charge 35 cents for each session. It too can remind you when your times about up so you can add more time and avoid that dreaded parking ticket.

Ray Michaels

The city wanted to remind us as well that Grand Junction parking rates are still among the cheapest in the state. Also too, the estimated additional revenue will be about $47,000 more a year. Only time will tell if the increased fees will have any negative effects on downtown businesses. In the meantime keep some extra change in the console.