BROOKLYN - The New York City Department of Transportation has announced a plan to increase parking fees in parts of Park Slope.

Under a pilot program called "Park Smart," which is set to launch May 4, drivers who park on meters along Fifth Avenue from Third Street to Sackett Street, and along Seventh Avenue between Sixth Street and Lincoln Place, will have to pay $1.50 an hour from noon to 4 p.m. During all other times, the rate will be set at 75 cents an hour.

However, some local business owners are concerned that the higher meter rates will keep potential customers away.

DOT officials say the program will help free up parking spaces by encouraging drivers to stay no longer than necessary and by deterring double-parking. The "Park Smart" program is also expected to increase safety and reduce pollution in the neighborhood, according to the DOT.