The Calgary Parking Authority won't increase rates in 2016.

CPA general manager Mike Derbyshire announced the decision Tuesday, describing it as a response to the city's economic downturn.

That move brushes aside a policy implemented just two years ago that calls for parking prices to to be raised and lowered, block by block, based on demand.

"To help provide some relief to our customers during these difficult financial times, we've temporarily amended the rate policy we use to provide us with the flexibility to freeze both on- and off-street rates and in some cases even decrease rates," Derbyshire said in a release.

Adopted in 2014, the demand-based pricing policy would normally see on-street parking rates increase by 25 cents an hour in zones that saw occupancy of 80 per cent or greater the year before, and decrease by the same amount in zones with less than 50 per cent.

The amended policy will still allow for rates to go down in low-occupancy zones, but not up in high-occupancy zones.

For some Calgarians, a freeze doesn't go far enough. 

"It seems in a time of difficulty like Alberta and Calgary find themselves now, we should try to give more breaks to our citizens. That means lowering the parking rates right across the city," said Frank Oliva. 

"It just makes good business sense to do that. Come on city hall, get on the wagon and lower those rates." 

Occupancy data is collected and calculated automatically by the CPA's proprietary ParkPlus system.

At CPA parkades and off-street surface lots, rates won't rise either, but could fall. Those rates are typically set at 15 to 20 per cent below the market rate at comparable, privately operated lots like Impark.

The rate freezes do not apply to the parking lots at Telus Spark and the Calgary Zoo, which are privately owned and merely managed by the parking authority.