Year in Review – Paid parking begins for Downtown Sarasota and St. Armands visitors

The Sarasota City Parking Division began paid parking this year. The City voted 3-2 in favor of spending $352,000 to implement the paid parking downtown. Commissioners Hagen Brody and Shelli Freeland Eddie were against the proposal.

The paid parking effort downtown was an expansion of the overall program that brought paid parking and a new parking garage to St. Armands Circle earlier this year.

The payment stations are the same in both locations. In addition to using the pay stations, users can also use the Parkmobile App to pay.

Paid parking will be enforced from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Judicial District and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday along Main Street and Palm Avenue. The cost to park is $1.50 per hour, with the first 10 minutes free.

The initiative for a paid parking program is to help offset the millions of dollars in subsidies the City has had to allocate to offset losses in the parking division. The initiative is also to help diminish congestion.

The City of Sarasota’s 500 space parking plan includes the St. Armands parking garage, which is located adjacent to the county Fire Department Station on North Adams Drive, behind the Columbia Restaurant.

Parking fees for St. Armands Circle and the parking garage will not go into effect until the garage is completed and includes new parking meters.

The total cost for the garage was $12 million, which was paid in part through parking revenue, hourly charges for the garage and on-street meters as well as through a special assessment on St. Armands commercial property owners. The City said a rooftop solar panel will help power the facility and there are public restrooms on the first floor.

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