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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Parking meters return to St. Petersburg waterfront

By Eddie R. Cole, Times Staff Writer
In print: Sunday, June 8, 2008

ST. PETERSBURG — Complaints from merchants about abuses of free downtown parking and traffic congestion have prompted city officials to add parking meters along the waterfront.

The issue spun out of increased traffic from new developments being built and downtown employees taking advantage of the free parking while at work, said Evan Mory, city parking manager.

He said about 250 meters are scheduled to be installed this weekend along Beach and Bayshore drives between Central Avenue and Fifth Avenue N. The remaining 150 meters will be put in this summer along the approach to the Pier.

The meters will replace parking spaces that were free for 90 minutes and they will cost 50 cents per hour.

Mory said surveys were sent to business owners in the area where the meters will be placed and the response was in favor of meters.

"The majority of business owners wanted meters to manage parking," Mory said.

Diana Lyle, owner of Good Night Moon, a gift and accessories shop on Beach Drive, is one of those in favor of the meters, though she said she is not sure if all business owners' voices were represented in the decision. "We're for it," Lyle said. "It's not really about keeping the employees from there. It's about people (who) don't understand. People always ask, 'Is it really 90 minutes?' We just think it will stop confusion for people."

On the other hand, Rebecca Stewart, an agent at the Coldwell Banker office on Beach Drive, said meters will not help the parking situation.

"I think it's going to make it worse," Stewart said. "It's cheap and easy. Instead of having to go out and drive around the block looking for another spot, I have less incentive to move if I just walk out there and pop another quarter or 50 cents in."

The meters cost the city $500 each and will accept nickels, dimes and quarters. They will be enforced from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day.

The fine will be $17.50 for being parked at an expired meter, just as it was for parking longer than 90 minutes in the free parking.

Eddie R. Cole can be reached at

[email protected] or (727) 893-8779.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/transportation/roads/article610939.ece
 

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Many cities are now pulling up their downtown meters as a way to encourage stronger retail growth and to become more user friendly. Installing meters seems like an un-needed expense to me. From the sound of it, it looks like the city needs better parking enforcement to ensure users obey the time limits. You don't need meters for that.
 

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Maybe they can bring back the satellite payment centers just to confuse everyone like they did about 10 years ago
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Maybe they can bring back the satellite payment centers just to confuse everyone like they did about 10 years ago
I remember when they were installed at the Trop. No one liked them (nor did they know how to use them), so they moved the stations to some of the beaches. And still some people can't seem to figure out how to use them.
 

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From what I see while living downtown is that the only thing holding back st. petersburg now is its lack of parking on a daily basis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
In the long run, I don't see parking meters helping the situation either. Actually, I think it will make things worse...people will not want to park there to shop or have a bite to eat if they have to keep coming back to the meter every two hours. It will really hurt the businesses in the long term, when these small businesses are already suffering as is.
 
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