The city’s planning to meter more of the downtown area, but not just yet.
Council approved a second parking meter zone, consisting of 243 on-street parking spaces. The boundaries are West Royal Palm Road/East Palmetto Park Road on the south, Northeast Fifth Avenue/Northeast Mizner Boulevard on the east, Northeast Eighth Street on the north, and North Dixie Highway/Northwest Second Avenue on the west. The zone also includes Northwest Fourth Street, adjacent to the Downtown Library.
“We already have a parking zone south of Palmetto Park Road. This would be setting the same thing north of Palmetto Park Road,” city manager Leif Ahnell told council.
The city will hold off installing most meters until 2021. But 65 meters will go around the new condo Tower 155 at 199 E. Boca Raton Road in mid-August.
An earlier discussion scheduled most new meters for the fiscal year 2021, Ahnell said.
“We would expedite the meters that would have significant impacts to the businesses. There are parking problems already, and with Tower 155, we will see it increasing with the structure coming into that area,” Ahnell said.
“Tower 155 has begun turning over units and should be getting CO by the second week of August,” Elaine Hinsdale, Kaufman Lynn Construction marketing vice president said, referring to the building’s certificate of occupancy.
“Businesses have lobbied for this. As we grow in density, we have to manage parking,” said Deputy Mayor Andrea Levine O’Rourke.
“This is not your normal situation downtown. Putting in meters now would be the wrong time,” said Councilman Andy Thomason. “Let’s hold off except 155.”
Ahnell reassured council the $650,000 has been set aside. “We’d be coming back to get authorization,” before installing the others, he said.
“I fully support parking meter installation. Meters have driven others into unmetered areas. The city manager’s spot on,” said Glenn Gromann, a commercial real estate consultant and former chair of the Downtown Advisory Committee who called in for public comment.
Some meters will eventually go next to the downtown post office. “When it’s time for those meters, would it be possible to make meters free for the first 30 minutes,” for postal patrons, requested Councilwoman Monica Mayotte. Ahnell agreed that can be done.
Metered parking payments will be available through ParkMobile. “We would encourage patrons to utilize the app to pay for parking as it would eliminate the need for people to touch high-touched surface areas (meters),” a city spokeswoman said.
By Marci Shatzman