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The city’s Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department credits the success of the Central Square Cultural District with increasing demand for evening parking. (Photo: Central Square Cultural District)

The city’s Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department credits the success of the Central Square Cultural District with increasing demand for evening parking. (Photo: Central Square Cultural District)

Parking rates are doubling to $2 per hour between 6 to 10 p.m. in Central Square, said Brad Gerratt, deputy director of the city’s Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department, in a Wednesday press release.

The change took place immediately at all five city parking lots in Central Square.

“The success of the Central Square Cultural District has brought increased evening activity to the square, and subsequently the demand for evening parking has grown,” Gerratt said. “As a result, finding a parking space in the evening has become harder.”

The dramatically increased price, especially with mass transit available nearby, should get parking spaces to empty faster, “making space available for those who must drive,” he said.

Parking rates doubled from 50 cents per hour and pay hours were extended to 10 p.m. from 6 p.m. at two city-owned lots in August 2010, and the square’s three remaining lots got the same increases in October 2012. “This improvement was a great success as evening activities grew,” Gerratt said. “We continue to work on supporting that growth.”

One resident called the increase “a tourist tax” that would hurt Central Square businesses. The square gets 1 million visitors a year, according to the Central Square Business Association.

This post took significant amounts of material from a press release.

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