About 44,000 paid parking transactions reported since program began this summer in downtown Sarasota

Parking Division has collected about $78,000, city manager says

Image courtesy City of Sarasota

Since the City of Sarasota’s downtown paid parking program was implemented about two months ago, the city’s Parking Division has processed nearly 44,000 transactions, either by mobile phone or at the new pay stations installed on Main Street and portions of Ringling Boulevard and Palm Avenue, City Manager Tom Barwin announced in his Sept. 6 newsletter.

“Almost one-third of those transactions (about 32 percent) were by smartphone users via the ParkMobile app,” Barwin added.

“About $78,000 in parking revenue has already been generated since the first section of downtown pay stations was activated on July 8,” Barwin continued. “Those are encouraging numbers, since the revenue collected from paid parking will go toward parking garage maintenance,” as well as Parking Division operations, Barwin noted. The revenue also will reduce the need for the division’s annual subsidy from the city’s General Fund, which is made up largely by property tax revenue.

City staff has expressed the hope that the parking payments eventually will eliminate that subsidy.

“We’re pleased with how the new system is working so far,” Barwin added. “The limited number of downtown paid parking spaces have been busy during peak periods of the day, but we’ve still observed a handful of open spots, providing more turnover and the prime accessibility that some motorists need or desire. And best of all, our conveniently located parking garages remain free for two hours and make up the 88 percent of all downtown parking spaces that are available at no charge, so visitors have many options available.”

Those who do choose to pay to park, Barwin continued, are finding the new pay stations “are as easy to use as an ATM. Our staff have continued to refine the on-screen prompts and improve the accompanying signage to make the experience as quick and seamless as possible,” he pointed out.

“If you haven’t yet tried them, you should know that you can pay at any pay station, not just the one closest to your parking spot — just snap a photo of your license plate number with your phone so that you can enter it when prompted” by the pay station, he wrote.

“You can also skip the pay stations altogether and use the ParkMobile app to pay to park with your phone,” Barwin noted. “You can download and set up the app ahead of time and simply enter the zone number once you’ve parked, making the process a breeze.”

On its website, the city offers answers to frequently asked questions about the parking program. A person also may email ParkingInfo@SarasotaFL.gov.