St. Pete residents fed up with downtown parking will get a chance to weigh in on the issue this Wednesday at a public workshop at the Museum of Fine Arts on Beach Drive. The meeting unveiling the city’s draft parking study begins at 6:15 p.m. and is expected to run until 8:00.
The study introduces preliminary results looking at existing and future parking conditions throughout downtown. Officials will give members of the community an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on the study.
The study looked at both existing parking spaces available and demand in areas of downtown between Fifth Avenues North and South from Tampa Bay West to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street. It also included the Edge District near Tropicana Field.
Two public meetings were previously held in July as well as a series of online opinion surveys over the summer.
The city hopes the study will lead to a plan to meet current and future parking needs. The study is expected to identify possible alternatives to common issues like parking regulation modifications, additional parking and managing existing resources.
Those planning to attend the final public meeting on the issue can park for free in the Sundial Parking Garage on Second Street North across from the Sundial shopping plaza. People choosing to park in the garage need to bring their parking stub to the meeting to get it validated.
The city is already taking steps to combat parking issues in downtown. Last month the city launched the weekend “Park Once” program that allows visitors to park in a parking garage and then take a free shuttle to their destinations.
The Kriseman administration is also pushing to implement a bike share program he hopes would encourage people to either ditch their cars while visiting downtown or park remotely and get around on a bike.
And Monday the Florida Department of Transportation announced a $500,000 grant to implement Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit. The project is expected to take about two years. Once it’s implemented visitors from the beach can quickly and efficiently travel from the Gulf to the Bay on public transit in about 30-40 minutes. Today that same trip takes an hour and a half.
Mayor Rick Kriseman attended a news conference announcing the grant and celebrated the move as a way to make downtown a more walkable community.