Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The cost of parking in Rochester's parking ramps could soon be a little less expensive as long as you are not staying for more than 4 1/2 hours.

The Rochester City Council will be presented Monday with a new parking rate study during a study session. The report's recommendations include some significant changes for both on-street and off-street parking in downtown Rochester.

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Documents included in the agenda for the meeting include recommendations that would retain free parking in the ramps for the first hour. The charge for an hour and a half of parking would drop a dollar from the current $3 dollar fee with another dollar added each half hour until the charge would reach $8 dollars after 4 1/2 hours of parking.

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The charge for parking in the ramp for five hours would remain at $10, but the recommendations call for a jump to $12 for 5 1/2 hours with another two dollars added per half hour of parking until the charge would reach the daily maximum of $16 after six hours. The current daily maximum is $14.

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Under the recommendations, anyone parking for more than 12 hours in a city ramp will be charged $18.

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The plan presented to the City Council would also eliminate the current 30 and 90 minute parking meters on certain downtown streets. The recommendation is to convert all of the parking meters in the downtown core area to three hours with a charge of two dollars per hour. There would be no time limit for meters on the edges of the downtown area where the hourly charge would be $.50.

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The recommendations also call for the continuation of free parking after 5 PM on weekdays and all day on weekends.

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