More parking changes hit Sarasota

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Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 5:36 pm | Updated: 9:21 pm, Wed Dec 19, 2012.

SARASOTA - Beginning sometime next year, it'll be easier to avoid getting a parking ticket in downtown Sarasota.

"I think that's fabulous," said shopper Kate Shaver.

City leaders have approved a plan that will end all parking enforcement on Saturdays.  On top of that, parking enforcement will end at 6:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, two hours earlier than the current 8:00 p.m.

"This allows people to enjoy strolling around the area, where many of us are open until 9:00," said Erik Kent,a store owner, who thinks the changes are a sure-fire way to get more traffic downtown.

"I think they're on the right track now and hope they can raise funds that are necessary in other ways," said Kent.

Those other ways include raising the late fee on parking tickets fifteen dollars every thirty days.  You'll also face a $35 fine for parking non-electric cars in electric-car-only spaces.

"It's very nice to shop down here so I think it will help," said Shaver.

The past few years have been a roller coaster when it comes to parking rules, with changes coming and going.

Mayor Suzanne Atwell says the issue is just too important not to get exactly right.  "Yes, I believe it was worth the aggravation, because I think this issue is that important," said Atwell, "people keep talking about 'you keep changing your mind', again because it is so important to do this."

No timeline has been set for the changes to happen, but officials say it will most likely happen after the first of the year.

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