CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As Charlotte grows and changes, where and how drivers can park around the city is changing, too.
With more cars hitting the roads in South End and Uptown, finding street parking isn't always easy.
"Coming over here to South End, especially in the brewery district, it can be quite hectic,” Ben Fletcher told WCNC Charlotte.
In July, the city bumped hourly rates for metered spots from $1 to $1.50 an hour. It’s the first change in street parking prices since 1997, according to the city.
The increase doesn’t bother South End resident Tyler Hickey.
"I think it’s just part of the growth that comes with an evolving city,” Hickey said.
While prices have gone up, how drivers can pay for parking is changing too. In April, the city began phasing out meters along Camden Road in South End. Now, drivers must use their smartphones to pay the fee.
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It took Fletcher a few minutes to figure out the mobile payment app after he got out of his car.
"It's fairly simple once you figure it out, it’s not that bad,” he reassured.
The city told WCNC Charlotte that the mobile payment option is a result of meters being inoperable on Camden Road now that 3G technology is no longer in the area.
Signs with instructions on how to pay by phone line the street.
"I think it makes a lot of sense," Hickey added. "It allows someone to park and walk away and not sit there for five minutes.”
Starting Sept. 10, hours of operation for metered parking spots will expand from Monday to Friday, to Monday to Saturday.
The city says the extra revenue from the new hours of operation and higher rates will go toward street maintenance and transportation goals. The city budget estimates to make around $700,000 from the parking changes this fiscal year.
Popular food spot Optimist Hall has changed its parking rules too. It now charges for a parking spot in its lot after 90 minutes.
The move has gotten mixed reviews online.
One Facebook user commented that the parking fee is, "a great way to run off customers," while another supported the idea by saying 90 minutes of free parking is plenty of time to eat.
Optimist Hall said in a statement on Instagram that the change will help provide convenient and efficient parking for visitors.