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City to Discuss Parking Upgrades and Future Challenges

Draft Proposal Keeps Street Parking Fees and Daily Garage Fees at Current Levels

June 3, 2013

(West Palm Beach, FL) – There are few issues that spark conversation around downtown West Palm Beach more than when you mention parking.

So when the City of West Palm Beach Parking Department announces it is drafting a five year strategic plan to address future parking needs, it get more than a little attention.

On Wednesday, the City will talk about the draft plan, and ask for public input and reaction to the ideas. The draft plan does not include any increases to street parking rates, and it does not include any increases in daily garage parking.

The five year plan is an attempt to get ahead of the curve on several upcoming issues that could affect downtown parking. As many as 500 downtown spaces could be lost over the next few years as surface lots are purchased by developers looking to build new projects.

In addition, a projected increase in demand is expected due to several factors, including the addition of a new commuter rail train station, a convention center hotel and a new hotel on the “Old City Hall” site.

“Right now, the City offers about 4500 places to park downtown, not counting the privately owned lots. But with all the anticipated projects in the pipeline, we want to make sure we stay ahead of the curve and make sure our facilities are state-of-the-art and ready to handle the demand,” said Chris Zachritz, City of West Palm Beach Parking Administrator.

In addition, the plan includes several possible upgrades to the system.  One such upgrade would allow drivers to access real-time live data telling them exactly what parking spaces are available.

This data would also be available to downtown business owners looking to post it on their websites.

The Parking Department is also planning on upgrading meters to accept credit cards.

As it is currently drafted, the only increases in fees could be for monthly garage spaces and expired meter tickets.  Monthly garage fees could increase by $15 per month, and tickets could increase by $7.

The city has held monthly parking costs at the same level for the past 11 years, and has not raised ticket costs in 7 years.

The City also plans on keeping the discount offered to monthly parking groups, and will also continue to offer free parking on Sundays and holidays free garage parking for the Green Market.

Even with the possible increases, monthly parking in city garages would still be cheaper than monthly parking in the private lots around the downtown area, and would be either less expensive or comparable to other Florida cities.

The possible changes break down like this:

  • No change to cost of street parking.
  • No change to cost of daily garage parking.
  • Upgrade M-F garage permits to 24/7 access…..increase cost by $15. ($65.00 to $80.20).
  • Residential garage permits……increase by $15. ($25.00 – $40.00).
  • Expired meter ticket….increase by $8 ($17.00 – $25.00).

Also being discussed is making all meter times consistent across the city. Right now, city meters at City Place are in effect until midnight, while other meters are in effect until 7pm.  A part of the draft plan would create a uniform time of midnight across the city.

Anyone interested in hearing further details on the draft five year strategic parking plan can watch live Wednesday at 3pm on West Palm Beach’s cable channel 18. It will also streamed live on the city website wpb.org

 
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