Salt Lake City may extend parking enforcement hours
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Want to use your debit card or smart phone to pay new digital machines for street parking in Salt Lake City?

Well, to cover the $4.5 million cost for the sleek, blue machines, City Hall may extend parking enforcement hours until 10 p.m. on weeknights — it ends at 6 p.m. now — and until 10 p.m. on Saturday.

That is one option, along with rate hikes, the City Council will consider to front the cost of the new parking system.

Mayor Ralph Becker wants the upgrade done by early next year to coincide with the March opening of City Creek Center. But the council has plenty of questions, including how reliable the new technology is. Besides, said Councilman Carlton Christensen, City Creek will have 5,000 underground parking stalls.

But Becker's Chief of Staff David Everitt said the new machines would help shatter downtown's parking stigma and let the "staggering" number of potential City Creek shoppers have a "really positive experience" parking on city streets.

The pay stations, he added, would provide "a really significant revenue opportunity."

Right now, 50 pay stations are in place downtown as a "test" until the free holiday-season parking begins on Thanksgiving. The council will hold a public hearing on the proposed upgrade Nov. 22.