You Paid For It: St. Pete parking meter rates to increase by 50 percent tomorrow

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Better bring a lot of coins or a credit card, if you plan on street parking in downtown St. Petersburg for business or pleasure because it’s about to get more expensive.

The city will increase the $1 an hour parking meter rate to $1.50 on Beach Drive starting Thursday.

They are also extending meter hours until 10 pm on Beach Drive and 8 pm on Central Avenue and eliminating free weekend parking on Central.

“That’s terrible,” said  downtown visitor Joanne Leverone.   “Jeez, that’s ridiculous,” said another visitor, Jay Dugmire.

Downtown residents will also notice a scaling back of residential permits in business areas that allowed them to park for unlimited periods at no charge.

Evan Mory, the director of City Transportation and Parking, tells 8 On Your Side it’s all part of the city’s new $6 million master parking plan to add more spaces and shift parking into three downtown parking garages.

“We found that our garages are about half empty while the street is essentially full,” Mory said.

The city now collects around $8 million a year from parking fees that You Paid For.

The boost in metered hours and the rate hike on Beach Dr. will generate an additional $500,000 annually into the city’s parking fund, which currently earns around $8 million a year. That’s money which can be used to develop more paid parking, especially around the so-called EDGE district on Central, which stretches from 9th St. to 16th St..

On the bright side for downtown visitors, the first hour of parking will now be free during business hours at public parking garages located at the Municipal Services Center, Sundial and South Core.

Meanwhile, the increased meter hours and fees aren’t going over well with some of the downtown visitors we interviewed.

“I was just scrounging for change now.,” said Susan Allen. “I will be taking Uber a lot more I guess.”

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