PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Free parking is the norm at most suburban shopping malls, but those who shop in Downtown Pittsburgh or the city’s seven neighborhood business districts have to pull out the quarters to park their cars at metered spots, at least during the daytime.

Evening parking has been free, but that changes in 2013 unless City Council acts.

On Jan. 1, meters will have to be fed until 10 p.m.

Councilman Bill Peduto says that makes no sense, and has introduced a bill to stop that. Peduto says enforcing meters until 10 p.m. hurts small businesses in the city’s neighborhood business districts.

His bill would permanently end parking meter enforcement at 6 p.m. throughout the city.

The original law was designed to raise money for the city’s underfunded pension fund.

But Peduto says the Pittsburgh Parking Authority never turned those funds over to the city pension fund.

The Councilman also says his bill helps nearby homeowners.

“This not only helps our local businesses by giving them a competitive advantage, but it also helps the neighbors around those businesses by having people not park in front of their homes,” said Peduto.

Now, Council must act before the end of the month to roll-back the 10 p.m. parking enforcement rule that begins in January.

The first vote on the bill is one week from Wednesday, Dec. 5, with a final vote on Dec. 18.

But Peduto is candid. He’s not sure the measure has five votes on Council yet, and he encourages residents and shop owners to contact their city council members.

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