Downtown St. Petersburg is taking the first steps to try to fix its parking jam.
Starting June 1, the city is raising the rates at the parking meters from $1 to $1.50, in an attempt to encourage people to park in the nearby parking garages.
“Lots of people complain it’s difficult to park in downtown, that you can never find any spaces,” said Tami Sims, President of the Downtown Business Association.
“It’s the price of progress,” she said.
In addition to the increase at the meters, the city will now enforce the metered parking two extra hours at night and during the weekends.
Meanwhile, parking garages just got cheaper for at least the first hour.
As part of the plan to move people away from street parking, the city is offering free parking for the first hour in the Sundial, SouthCore, and Municipal Center parking garages.
Simms thinks the frequent turnover on the street will benefit all stores and restaurants — plus, customers still have a choice.
“If it’s really really important for someone to park right directly in front of the place they want to go to then the expectation is they are expected to pay a slight premium,” she said.