Parking meter rates in Edmonton will increase by 50 cents an hour, if a city council committee approves the proposal next week. ((CBC))

Parking rates in Edmonton could be going up by 50 cents an hour beginning July 2, city officials announced Wednesday.

The change would see the cost of parking jump from $2 an hour to $2.50 an hour in high-demand areas like the downtown and Old Strathcona. Parking rates in medium-demand areas would jump from $1.50 an hour to $2 an hour, while in low-demand areas, the cost will rise from $1 an hour to $1.50 an hour.

"Parking rates are for short-term parking in busy areas," said Don MacDonald, acting director of traffic control.

"When meter rates are lower than off-street parking rates, parking meters become more attractive to long-term parkers."

MacDonald pointed to rate increases of around 25 per cent at parking garages and lots around the city, and said meter rates have to follow suit.

Even with the increases, the new rates will still compare favourably to those in other major cities, the city said. For example, Vancouver's hourly rate is currently $5 an hour, with an increase to $6 being considered.

City council's transportation and public works committee will consider the rate hike at its meeting on June 10.