St. Petersburg is looking for citizen input on how to improve its parking situation. Wednesday night it held the 4th public meeting on downtown parking at the Museum of Fine Arts.
The city offers free and metered street parking as well as parking garages, but some say those spaces aren’t being used as efficiently as they could be. Wendy Bernhard subleases suites to small salon businesses on 3rd street south and says the lack of parking has scared off potential tenants from using her space. She says there is nearby parking for residents and visitors, but not businesses and workers.
“Its not that there is a lack of spaces, its really not utilized most efficiently because most of the spaces in that area, even if their metered spaces or timed free spaces, they have a two hour limit” said Bernhard ” so thats sufficient for the customers of our business, but not for the people who work there all day. So if they’re there for 6 hours or 8 hours, they are going to get ticketed after two hours.”
Albert Scafati lives near St.Pete’s waterfront and notes that public parking garages are under-utilized. He says building more garages inland and providing employee parking would alleviate competition for space. He also thinks providing a trolley service from outside the core downtown area would help.
If they could provide trolley services to the outlying areas, where you could bring people into the city, and those folks who are coming the outer parts of the city ” said Scafati
The city’s transportation and parking management director Evan Mory says they are looking to balance where the parking spaces are with where people want to go.
“one of the main things that we find is that on-street parking can be full close to the destinations people want to go during peak times, so one of the things we want to do better is for people to better utilize off street parking whether it be surface lots or garages,” said Mory.
The meeting is part of a parking study conducted by civil planning consultants Kimley Horn. Senior Project Manager Mark Santos says the public input will help them understand where and when people use the most parking.
“We are actually building a model to understand how the parking is acting today and will be acting in the future,” said Santos “and with that input in regard to walking distances and safety, how close parking is…we are going to bring that all into the report.”
The Study is expected to be completed by early November.