In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that I am one of those people who will drive miles out of my way to avoid parking at a meter or paying for parking. It just seems like a money generating boondoggle to me and whether that is the intent or not, it has always struck me that if you want someone to come to your shops, towns, or events, you have to make it easy for them. I'd sooner drive to a mall than drop a quarter into a meter.
Don't even get me started on Valet Parking!
I wrote the body of this text below while sitting in the Commission Chambers listening to the Commissioners and the Mayor of the City of Wilton Manors do their best to hammer out the fairest regulations to draw people to our city and make it easy on the residents who watch the tide of Humanity flood in to enjoy our bars, parks, public spaces and events on a weekly basis. They did seem to come quite close but there were some things that I think just may have been missed...
The new parking ordinance as proposed places a limit of 2 hours,
modified to 4 hours. As it stands, that means that it will be illegal
to park and then pay in the city, then get in your car and move to
another spot that is metered in the A&E district.
The problem with that is that if you go to a bar or restaurant and
truly want to stay, there will be no legal way to remain a patron of
the A&E district.
In short the Ordinance tells the patrons that after 4 hours, you have
had enough and to go home.
I know that I personally have spent more than 4 hours in one specific
bar. That kind of limitation will make me reconsider coming back,
despite the fact that I find paying for parking to visit a venue
For the parks and city hall the commission thinks that it is
reasonable to expect a resident to pick up a parking pass for every
six to twelve months to have access. Of course you will have to pay a
'nominal' fee for this pass after you have paid access fees to be able
to drive there in this Not-Very-Pedestrian-Friendly city.
That is needlessly complex. I have seen other cities put a bag over
the meter in order to designate it as being free and not in service.
If the intent is to 'free up' adequate spaces for the gym, simply bag
the needed meters and now you have free spots!
If you want to set aside parking for the Commission Meetings and the Tennis Courts and the other amenities that Hagen and Richardson Parks have, you can either bag the meter, or since the parking lots adjacent to Richardson Park and City Hall are computerized multimeters, set the thing not to charge until after the park closes or in the case of the Commission Meetings after 1030PM. Personally I have never seen a Commission Meeting go quite that late and I have missed only three of them since I have moved to this wonderfully quirky City. The Multimeters in Downtown Fort Lauderdale have given me "free hours" when I went and dropped a quarter in the dreaded meter. I went downtown for an interview that started at 2pm and put a quarter in the meter. The time that the meter told me that I had until ended up being 730. I paid for the half hour between 7PM and 730PM. I arrived at that particular lot just after 130PM. If Fort Lauderdale can pull this sort of programming together, I am sure that we can too. If we can't do it, then we have a Prospective Parking Contractor that certainly can help.
There you go, two tweaks Free Of Charge, unlike parking at a meter. If you use them, be sure to credit where you got the idea! ;-)