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Why Kansas City is raising the price of River Market weekend parking

Kevin Collison
CityScene KC
The news that parking in River Market is becoming pricier has received mixed reviews from those affected by the situation.

Parking at the River Market during peak times can be chaotic. The city says the current system is 'upside down and backwards,' leading to the decision to start charging for parking on the weekends.

The days of free weekend parking in the River Market area are drawing to a close. For years, there has been no charge to park there on weekends and only $1 to park there during the week.

Matthew Muckenthaler, the parking program division manager for Kansas City, Missouri, argues the parking system in River Market doesn't make any sense, as it is cheap when it's slow, but totally free when it's very busy.

"Let's step back and remember that parking is part of the transportation network," says Muckenthaler. "The network is built to move people and goods. So, when you have an overcrowded system, it just creates a traffic jam, meaning that people can't actually get to the businesses, get to the farmers, get to their residence easily, quickly. And then they end up frustrated, they don't even go down, or they park illegally and unsafely, and that creates a lot of other ripple effects."

While traffic and overcrowding are concerns, not everyone is content with the change. One caller into KCUR's Up To Date, who identified as a vendor at the River Market for over 30 years, says he thinks most vendors are unhappy.

"All my customers are complaining, and over half of them said they'll go to a different market," he says. "This will kill the City Market. And as far as the people that live around there, they knew before they moved in there."

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