Put away your quarters: No parking fees in downtown St. Paul on Saturday

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What a way to start the new year if you're headed to downtown St. Paul this weekend: free parking.

It might sound like Minnesota's capital city is giving drivers a break to celebrate the arrival of 2016, but the reasons for the reprieve are much more administrative.

According to the Star Tribune, parking meters in the downtown area will be reset on Saturday in preparation for an increase in parking fees, and longer hours of enforcement. While St. Paul's Public Works gets the job done, you won't have to worry about the fees.

However, the new, higher rates will kick in on Monday, Jan. 4, according to the city. From that date on, public parking will be $2.00 per hour during the day and $1.00 per hour in the evening.

The new rates aren't a huge spike over the current ones, but where you'll likely notice more of a difference is in how long parking fee enforcement lasts. Currently, it ends at 5 p.m.; starting Monday, it will end at 10 p.m.

The daytime hours – when parking costs $2.00 – will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The current rates, in case you're wondering, run from $1.75 to $2.00 per hour in most places, and as low as $0.50 in lower-traffic areas, the city says.

An additional thing to be mindful of: rates will go up even further during special events. In the Xcel Energy Center's parking zone, expect to pay $3.75 per hour; outside CHS Field, it'll be $2.50 per hour.

Meanwhile, there's more good news for weekend commuters in the Saintly City. Kellogg Blvd., a major thoroughfare, has been reopened to traffic after a wide-scale construction project shut it down back in April, the Pioneer Press says. The closure affected the area between Wabasha St. and Market St. 

It'll be a short-lived break, though. The paper adds that the boulevard will close once more next spring for a "final resurfacing."

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