Pay to park coming to Palm Avenue garage

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Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 10:02 pm | Updated: 9:24 pm, Thu Sep 19, 2013.

SARASOTA-- The luxury of free parking in Downtown Sarasota's Palm Avenue garage will soon come to an end.

On Tuesday night, City Commissioners voted 3-2 to implement pay to park rates in the garage. For months, it has been free to park there.

"This should not be a profit-making operation for the city," said Sarasota resident Bob Frey, who uses the garage. "This should be something that is given to the people who are coming here as customers and employees and to keep the city thriving."

Paying to park in the garage won't cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, the first 90 minutes remain free. After that, it's about a dollar or two for each additional hour. The maximum amount you can pay is $16 after 11 hours.

Still, there are concerns among downtown business owners and their employees.

"If I didn't work here, that would be pretty reasonable, but I park here ten hours a day, so I'll have to find a different place to park," said Kendal Schanz, who works downtown.

Meaning, it could now be even harder to find parking on busy downtown streets.

"My feeling is that a lot of people who work on Main Street who park in the garage for free will go someplace else to park. Possibly on the streets. That will take away the parking we use for our customers," said Ron Soto of Soto Opticians.

Commissioner Paul Caragiulo and Mayor Shannon Snyder both voted against the rates. The Mayor told us over the phone that he feels the idea is a fiasco just like the downtown parking meters were. Those infamous meters were installed and later removed by the city, after facing months of pressure from downtown merchants and customers.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Get Serious posted at 2:55 pm on Thu, Sep 5, 2013.

    Get Serious Posts: 2

    Sad to see these changes? Really? Everyone wants infrastructure and nobody wants to pay for it. If this is the biggest challenge facing Sarasota, Sarasota doesn't have any problems. What other areas do you recommend to help raise money? A bake sale maybe?

    I have lived here for thirty years, and I remember the old downtown. It really wasn't someplace you wanted to go. There were only scattered places of interest and it had a seedy feel in spots. The city planners have done a great job shaping the downtown we see today.

    Here's something to consider for assisting downtown workers: how about offering monthly parking passes at a reduced rate? That would take care of a portion of the complaints. And for everyone else--the first 90 minutes are free! The paltry sum for staying the next few hours is nothing in contrast to the time wasted in hunting for a spot to park.

  • spoofyman posted at 12:25 am on Thu, Sep 5, 2013.

    spoofyman Posts: 4

    Living here my entire life it's honestly sad to see these sorts of changes happening to, our city. I understand times are tough but enough is enough. How about we looks at other areas to help raise money for the city or give a parking pass or credit system to the citizens of Sarasota and have visitors pay for parking? As for now, this is just another reason why I stop going downtown as much as I use to.


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