Are you ready for higher parking fines, meters on Missoula's "Hip Strip" and having to pay for parking into the evening?

If not, you might want to dust off the keyboard and provide some thoughts to the Missoula Parking Commission before next week. And if you think changes are needed to improve parking downtown, it's also a good time to write.

Although none of the ideas are final yet, parking officials are considering several options to help with parking as Missoula grows.

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Proposals for problems

The Missoula Parking Commission, commonly called the MPC, is tasked by the city and the Downtown Missoula Partnership to manage parking not only downtown but into the University District. Over the last 10 years, there have been significant changes, including the construction of another new parking structure, and the deployment of parking kiosks to replace meters.

However, MPC leaders say there are more problems to resolve, such as the availability of parking, and recent downtown development.

READ MORE: MIssoula's Most Challenging Parking Lots

A long-range plan

The new "Missoula Parking Commission Expansion and Optimization Implementation and Action Plan" is 89 pages long and includes some sweeping proposals:

-Fee increases of more than $1 for longer parking

-Metered parking as late as 8 pm

-No garage fee changes

-Abolishing the $20 "flat fee" fine in place of a system escalating fines to as high as $160 for a "5th ticket"

-Expansion of parking control, which could include paid parking on the "Hip Strip" in '25

-Using "tiered parking" to manage employee parking

Still, time to comment

None of the proposals are final and you can still comment. The MPC meets next week to review the ideas and input. Implementation would require approval from the Missoula City Council.

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