Street parking in downtown EPark zones will no longer be free after 6 p.m. on nights when there are hockey games or concerts at Rogers Place, the city announced Wednesday.

Effective Sept. 1, EPark hours of operation will be extended until 10 p.m. on Rogers Place event nights, at a rate of $3.50 per hour. Currently, EPark rates no longer apply after 6 p.m.

There will be a maximum five-hour time limit — starting at 5 p.m. — on downtown street parking on Rogers Place event nights. Currently, the time limit on EPark spots doesn't exceed two hours, although in some areas it's as short as 30 minutes.

The city says the change is needed to help balance the limited number of on-street parking spaces with the high demand for parking by businesses, residents and visitors. It's also meant to encourage Oilers fans and other event-goers to leave their cars at home.

"We are following industry practice in similar markets," Bohdan Maslo, the city's director of parking management, said at a media briefing. "Extending rates is a tool for us to manage a limited supply of parking. In doing so, we hope to encourage other modes of transportation, such as transit."

Had the city not started charging for on-street evening parking during Rogers Place events, "then we would expect event-goers to take up all the free spaces and not have spaces available for businesses and residents," Maslo said.

The affected zones are from 97th Street to 109th Street and from Jasper Avenue to 107th Avenue. 

Edmonton Parking Arena

The City of Edmonton is stretching the hours that street parking rates are in effect during Rogers Place event nights. (Supplied/City of Edmonton)

The extended hours will be in effect during Oilers and Oil Kings games, concerts and other major events at the new downtown arena.

Existing daytime rates and free parking after 6 p.m. on non-event nights, Sundays and holidays remain unchanged, the city said.

Library and City Hall parkade rates are also changing as of Sept. 1.

The library parkade evening maximum will increase to $10 every night from the current $5 maximum.

At the City Hall parkade, an evening maximum rate of $16 will be in place on event nights, with a $1-per-hour increase after 5 p.m. on non-event nights. Daytime rates aren't changing.