Hyde Park and Ybor City neighbors want new parking program to stay

Posted at 8:29 PM, Jun 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-12 20:29:07-04

The Ybor City and Hyde Park parking saga continues. 

The city rolled out a pilot program back in March that did not let drivers park in front of houses in those neighborhoods. The program is ending this week. City officials say most of the feedback has been positive. 

"We love it," said Kelly McMillan.

McMillan lives in Hyde Park and is one of the neighbors who has been very vocal about the parking issue in the area. 

The neighborhoods impacted by the program border South Howard Avenue where there are several restaurants -- such as Fresh Kitchen and Bern's Steakhouse. From 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. drivers will be ticketed $30 if they are parking on streets in the neighborhood, and don't have a parking permit. 

Ybor city already had a similar program, but city leaders changed the hours from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

City officials say dozens of drivers have been ticketed, but for the most part, they've noticed that people are following the rules and finding other places to park.

"We no longer see a lot of traffic on this street," said McMillan. "We can get in and out of our driveways, it's safer." 

There are some who do not like the program, like Austin Pennington. He works at Big Star Real Estate in Ybor City. It's on the corner of East 5th Avenue and North 20th Street. That's one of the places where only residents can park. Pennington says the closest garage is too far to walk from, so they all park in front of the building. 

"Someone in the office gets at least one ticket a week," said Pennington. 

The program officially ends on June 16. City officials are thinking about keeping it, but they might make some changes. They'll be looking at surveys and data collected during the three months, and decide what the next best steps are for the city.