The Lafayette City-Parish Council is looking at possible supply-and-demand pricing for downtown parking in order to increase revenues to pay for technological upgrades for the parking system.

Downtown Development Authority CEO Nathan Norris said at the Feb. 25 council meeting that the dated system needs more revenue and attention to improve quality of life for future downtown residents and visitors. One way to increase revenues, Norris suggested, is to identify high-demand parking areas and raise parking prices in those targeted locations.

Norris said revenues could be used to reinvest in the parking system — a necessary "utility," he said, quite like electricity and water. He briefed the council on how the current system could by updated through pay-by-credit-card parking meters and parking apps for smart phones.

"We actually can control whether or not we do offer high quality city living," Norris said. "After living here for a year, I can tell you parking is the number one issue."

Lafayette Consolidated Government transit manager Mike Mitchell said the public seems "receptive" to paying higher costs during after-hours parking in parking garages, so supply-and-demand charging for parking could be plausible. Parking meters, however, are not monitored after hours and on weekends, thus creating a major gap in revenue.

Mitchell said his department is planning to include upgrades in the upcoming budget cycle, and he said he agreed with Norris that upgrades are necessary.

"There's no denying the technology we have in place and is in use right now is antiquated," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said parking fees haven't increased since the 1990s, and parking fines haven't increased since the early 2000s.