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Downtown West Palm Beach business owners worry about parking rate hike

On-street parking rates will remain in effect 24 hours a day
Posted at 4:01 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 23:19:57-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — By this time next week, it may cost drivers more to park in downtown West Palm Beach as new rates begin.

At a time when it feels like everything is going up, parking meters on the busy streets like Clematis Street are increasing as well.

The price to park on West Palm Beach's busy streets will go up from $1.25 for the first hour to $2.50 for the first hour starting May 1.

Additionally, rates will remain in effect 24 hours per day instead of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Prices are also changing in parking garages. They will remain the same for the first two hours at just $1. After that, rates will increase to $2 for each additional half-hour. The maximum daily rate is also going up from $10 to $20 at parking garages.

John Reis of Hot Pie Pizza speaks about parking rates increasing
John Reis worries that the increase in parking costs will hurt his and other businesses.

There will be a flat $5 fee for weekends and holidays in garages.

"It’s bad enough we're experiencing inflation in every aspect then just to throw more money on the parking," said John Reis of Hot Pie Pizza on Olive, located just a half-block off Clematis Street.

The changes also prompted discussion of a petition from the owner of Subculture Coffee on Clematis, who posted results of an informal poll on social media saying 85% were against the hike.

The city said in a statement that the changes will create more turnover and cut down on vehicle congestion.

Rick Reikenis, Downtown Development Authority
Rick Reikenis speaks about why parking rates are increasing in West Palm Beach.

"Over the last few years, the city of West Palm Beach has put a lot of thought into how we treat parking here," said Rick Reikenis with the Downtown Development Authority and former mayor.

He believes the higher rates, in the end, will go toward improvements for a downtown already vibrant and growing

"I think as long as the money, and the city is making sure the money is going to go back into improving the parking garages and the parking experience people are going to know what they're getting for it, they'll understand why they're paying a little bit more money," Reikenis said.

The ticket for an expired meter will cost $37, but it can go up to $150 for repeat offenders.

Along with the rate change on busy streets, there is a plan to offer 50% discounts for downtown service workers in city garages.