Charleston hospitality workers plan to flood the City Council meeting Tuesday to voice their concerns about the city's plan to double the parking meter rates and extend enforcement to 10 p.m.
Jonathan Graham, a 25-year-old server at a downtown restaurant, is helping plan the event on Facebook. So far, 100 people have said they will attend.
"We’re organizing to make sure that any meter increases that go into effect don’t negatively effect the hospitality employees that make the city so successful," he said Thursday.
City Council voted during its 2018 budget process last year to increase the parking meter fee from $1 to $2 per hour, which would match the rate at city-owned garages.
The city is also extending the enforcement period by four hours. At present, meters aren't monitored after 6 p.m.
Many food and beverage workers are upset because the changes will remove the cheapest parking option for those who work downtown, especially at night. The city said the changes won't go into effect until the new park-and-ride system for hospitality workers is launched.
The downtown shuttle will run from a 170-space lot on Morrison Drive. It's expected to begin operations within a month.
Graham said they want a bigger park-and-ride lot to serve more workers, or a better system to let hospitality workers park in garages for a flat rate during their shifts. The program now offers flat-rate parking at night at city-owned garages, but it's available to anyone, not just workers.