Could this plan add 350 spots in downtown Delray

Posted at 7:12 PM, Dec 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-07 19:12:24-05

Delray Beach might have the fix to parking issues on nights and weekends.

City leaders are considering a plan to have people who work downtown park in one garage, opening more than 300 spots along streets and in lots downtown.

Autumn Kreger never knows where she'll find a parking spot. She works at Bru's Room in downtown Delray Beach.

"It takes 5-10 minutes, if I even find a spot," she explains.

Her customers have just as much of a hard time parking.

"I always have to plan ahead where am I going to park, that's one of the anxiety things of coming up here," admits Rita Lehto, from Lighthouse Point.

City leaders want to make it easier. One suggestion they'll consider during a meeting Tuesday is to have employees of shops and restaurants downtown park in the county courthouse garage on nights and weekends. 

Currently the garage on SW 2nd Avenue closes at 6 p.m. This proposal would keep it open until 3 a.m. for employees downtown.

About 100 spots would open up weekdays starting at 3 p.m. Another 250 would be free after 6 p.m.

That means there could be as many as 350 open spots downtown with employees parking at the garage.

"Maybe I'll be able to find a parking space much easier," Lehto wonders.

But she points out the change won't make a difference during the daytime on weekdays, when court employees and court visitors use the garage, forcing downtown employees to park somewhere else.

The plan would ensure Kreger has a place to park when she works the evening shift. But she'd have to walk five blocks to the garage, sometimes late at night, sometimes carrying cash from tips.

This plan doesn't include a shuttle for employees.

"There are always a lot of people, so I feel like I'm not walking alone. So I don't see that as too much of an issue," Kreger points out.

One issue might be the price. The city would charge businesses $20 per spot each month. That covers the cost of getting an insurance policy and having someone man the garage entrance to make sure only employees with a badge hanging on their rearview mirror enter the garage.

This proposal would begin as a six month pilot program.

City commissioners will discuss at their meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m.