Delray Beach weighs plans for parking meters on Atlantic Avenue

After three years of debate, the city on Tuesday will review three recommendations: a parking study completed by consultants in 2010 and proposals from the city's Parking Management Advisory Board and city staff.

City officials could adopt one of the plans, make changes to the recommendations, send them back to the parking advisory board or scrap them altogether. Parking meters will create additional revenue for the city, alleviate traffic congestion and create parking turnover on Atlantic Avenue.

But merchants have long held the view that meters could kill business in the downtown area.

The consultant's parking study called for meters to operate from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 10 a.m. until midnight Friday and Saturday. Sundays would be free.

The Parking Management Advisory Board and staff recommended that meters operate from 9 a.m. until midnight or 2 a.m., seven days per week.

All three groups had very different ideas on what the city should charge: $1.25 per hour with the first 20 minutes free on Atlantic Avenue, said the parking study. The board and staff said the city should charge $2 per hour on Atlantic Avenue, with the first hour free and a 2-hour limit.

All three groups focused on making prime spaces on Atlantic Avenue more expensive and with shorter stays permitted than those elsewhere.

The plans include a program that would allow an employee, resident or frequent visitor to pay $25 to $30 per month, or $100 to $150 a year, for a decal or hang tag that would allow them to park in specific lots or garages throughout the city.

"We felt that we had to take care of the merchants," said Fran Marincola, chairman of the parking advisory board, of the proposal the board put together. "I hope that in the end they adopt something that the merchants could live with."


Comments