SARASOTA (WWSB) - Parking meters are making their way back to downtown Sarasota along with a couple other parking changes that will start as soon as January.
City Commissioners approved five recommendations from the City Parking Manager to help fix the $650,000 parking deficit.
For starters, the city will be putting parking meters on Main Street and Palm Avenue because they are the parking spots in highest demand. Drivers will be able to pay by cash, credit card or through an app and the city says 5 percent of the parking meter revenue will be used in development of the streets they are on, including sidewalks, signage, or trees.
Though this is an increase in parking meters, commissioners say 89 percent of the city remains free to park in, including the free parking garages. However, their lowering the amount of time cars can park in the garage for free from three hours down to two hours.
And across the city, they’re expanding enforcement hours through 8pm Monday through Saturday.
A new, five-person parking committee is going to help manage these adjustments
While some people are for this change, some Main Street businesses owners are not because they say it will hurt business.
"If construction is downtown as we've had a lot of, they stay away. Parking meters, they definitely stayed away back in 2011, I think that they would do it again," said Pastry Art Bakery Cafe Owner, Chip Beeman.
The city said the adjustment for the parking garage hours should start in January and the parking meters should be put in by May 2019.