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Hollywood delays vote on raising beach parking rates

posted Dec 21, 2011, 9:19 AM by Freddy Suastegui
By Tonya Alanez, Sun Sentinel

7:38 p.m. EST, December 7, 2011


It looks like free downtown street parking will come at the price of more expensive beach parking.

Commissioners on Wednesday postponed their vote but acknowledge that they would need to raise beach parking rates — by 50 cents or even $1.50 an hour — to cushion the loss of an estimated $1.4 million in revenue created by the freebies downtown.

On Dec. 1, the city began offering three hours of free street parking downtown as a means of enticing visitors to the area's struggling restaurants, bars and shops.

Because visitors already flock to the beach, the thought is that it can weather a cost increase.

Mayor Peter Bober acknowledged that beach rates must go up to create an offset while simultaneously defending the free-parking initiative: "The downtown has essentially become more friendly overnight."

Beach parking rates on the street are currently $1.50 an hour Monday through Thursday and $2 an hour Friday through Sunday. In the city's two beach garages at Johnson and Garfield streets, it costs $1.50 an hour to park.

Commissioners discussed increasing the fees by at least 50 cents an hour and up to $1.50 an hour as a means of bringing in $500,000 to $1.25 million.

Beach business owners are not averse to increased parking fees.

"Everybody who parks [on the street] who wants that front-row seat needs to pay the premium," said Debra Case, owner of beachside Ocean Alley Restaurant and president of the Hollywood Beach Business Association.

Case proposed increasing street rates to $3 an hour during the day and $2 at night, and charging $2 an hour to park in the under-utilized garages.

Before opting to postpone their vote until a later date, commissioners discussed everything from upping the downtown garage rate from $1 an hour to setting seasonal beach parking rates — $2 an hour on the street and $2.50 an hour in the garages from May 1 to Oct. 31 and then increasing those rates by 50 cents an hour from Nov. 1 to April 30

As of Dec. 1, downtown street parking went from $1 an hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to three free hours.

And the downtown parking garages — at 250 N. 19th Ave. and 251 S. 20th Ave. — went from the first two hours free to $1 an hour around the clock. or 954-356-4542