SARASOTA (WWSB) – The new St. Armands parking garage was not only packed with cars Monday morning, but also with dozens of Sarasota city leaders and residents who were there for one thing…to celebrate the new addition. to the region.
“We’re not just trying to bring the city’s idea of improving parking capacity, but also into neighborhoods,” said Mark Lyons, the city’s parking manager.
The garage is located on N. Adams Circle and has over 500 parking spaces. It costs 50 cents an hour. It was opened to the public in February. City officials say it has since made it easier for visitors.
“It turned out to be really nice,” he said.
However, few feel the same. Last week, Sarasota Mayor Liz Alpert received a Facebook message that reads in part:
“Confusing parking payment and not visible enough to notice. Unmarked spaces making it difficult to know which space is being paid for.
This has been forwarded to the parking service. They say they researched and interviewed locals and came to this conclusion:
“The machine we have here today was chosen 80% of the time by the people we interviewed,” Lyons said.
Some local business owners say the garage helps boost business in certain areas of the Circle. For other purposes, they say their customers are more worried about not getting a ticket than enjoying their shopping experience.
“They won’t shop, they say they can’t come back because they don’t want a ticket,” said Just/Because owner Barbara Pugliese.
The city claims to have provided different payment alternatives, including an app. Some business owners say that not all of their customers use it.
“Not everyone wants to do that. Our demographic isn’t using the app as much as it should,” Pugliese said.
According to the parking service, they have made some changes to make it easier to pay at the meter. They say if there is a need in the future, they will continue to perfect it.
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