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City of Fort Pierce looking for input on downtown parking plan

Anticipates needing more spaces to accommodate growth
Posted at 11:11 PM, Nov 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 00:04:07-05

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — The City of Fort Pierce is working to revamp its downtown parking plan, preparing for the growing demand that comes with planned developments in the downtown area.

That includes developments like the shopping, dining, and hotel destination at King’s Landing, as well as Fisherman’s Wharf near the Port of Fort Pierce.

City leaders acknowledge parking is going to be tight.

On the weekends, parking can already be hard to come by.

“I’ve watched it grow,” said Pickled Restaurant and Bar General Manager Austin Flecher.

Pickled has been open for nearly a year. Flecher said he has seen people drop someone off at the door while they drive around to look for a parking spot.

“I’ve had people sit 30 minutes waiting on their husband to get a parking spot,” Flecher said.

Or, he said, people worry about overstaying the 2-hour parking limit during business hours.

“How do we implement a system of parking that just doesn’t make people frustrated?” said Fort Pierce City Commissioner Jeremiah Johnson.

Johnson said that is what the city is actively working to resolve as it anticipates planned growth is only going to encourage more growth, and add to driver frustration.

“What’s happening is with King’s Landing. We’re seeing this surge of energy,” Johnson said.

Johnson said city leaders want to have a new parking plan within the year.

They are weighing options and ideas like how to best strategize where to implement paid parking, free parking, and time-restricted parking to keep the flow of customers moving, and keep parking spots rotating to help businesses.

Johnson has already heard business owners express their needs.

“I need more change over in front of my store. I need my restaurant to change over seats. I need more business,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he would also support an additional parking garage in the downtown area.

The city has a survey on its website for visitors, residents, and businesses owners to offer their opinions on parking solutions, including how they think parking improvements should be funded.