City looks to make downtown parking easier

Legislation allows for cheaper parking rates, more electronic meters

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The city of Jacksonville is now looking at ways to make parking easier downtown with a new parking code that's expected to be passed Tuesday night by City Council.

Many who park downtown say it's not very convenient, particularly for those who don't have any cash on hand and like paying by credit or debit cards.

"It's kind of annoying that they only take cash," Ben Fink said. "That bothers you they only take cash. It's not convenient."

The city is now trying to make it easier for drivers to park downtown by passing new legislation to fix the city's parking plan. The main change involves parking garages, which currently charge a flat monthly fee for anyone who wants to lease a city parking space in a garage.

"Right now the current code says $85 month-to-month lease," said David DeCamp, a spokesman for the mayor's office. "This will allow us to negotiate long-term agreements that help companies come here and give us the flexibility to do that. And it gives us ways to adjust the needs and the demands of companies for downtown parking."

City managers say that inflexibility has cut them out of some downtown parking deals in the past. This new plan now is to allow the city to negotiate with firms to allow for cheaper parking rates by guaranteeing there be workers to to fill the spots.

The city says everyone wins.

"Everyone loves lower rates. You can't go wrong there," Shannon Everline said.

The new parking codes also will allow for more electronic meters. There are about 500 in Jacksonville, but the city hopes to replace the 1,100 more in the future.

"Obviously, everything is dependent on financing and funding, and as funding is available, we will look at how we can upgrade the meters and make it easier," DeCamp said.

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