TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa leaders are on a mission to solve downtown’s parking problems. Tampa leaders discussed a few new solutions on Thursday that could ease your frustrations in finding a spot.
An outside consultant hired by the city says Tampa has two big problems: Pricing and a lack of spots in private lots. They also say parking problems could keep Tampa from attracting employers downtown.
Every day, Alan Outeiral goes on the hunt for a parking space.
“It’s atrocious especially because I work here so I park down here every day.”
His name is on a waiting list for a more permanent, monthly parking spot and it has been for months.
“Which is kind of ridiculous,” Outeiral said with a sigh.
So, he relies on lots with daily parking fees which costs him around $6 a day.
“So if you do the math, that's a lot of money," he elaborated.
Edward Serralles knows the struggle. He walks a mile each way to downtown so he can park for free.
“Why do they have to charge for parking?," Serralles questioned. "We shouldn’t be hurting for the money that bad.”
Tampa leaders admit that parking downtown needs to be improved.
“The fact that we should and can make it easier for people, we agree," said Bob McDonaugh, who works in Tampa's Economic Opportunity Office.
A study presented Thursday found there are plenty of spots downtown: 24,000 in total. Even during peak hours, consultants found 6,000 open parking spots. Yet, because two-thirds of Tampa’s downtown parking is privately owned, the lots aren’t always open.
“Some of those office buildings don’t open their garages to the public at night or on weekends, because of that there are thousands of parking spaces that are inaccessible,” explained McDonaugh.
Tampa leaders have two plans in the works to help: Educating people about outlying lots and working with private property owners to expand their spots to the public.
City leaders are also looking into how much you should pay to park in the future. Currently, it's cheaper to park on-street than in city parking garages.