Parking meters installed on St. Armands

Paid parking program to begin in shopping district after new city garage’s opening, expected in January

Work continues this month on the St. Armands parking garage. Photo courtesy City of Sarasota via Twitter

Parking pay stations have been installed along St. Armands Circle in anticipation of the completion of the new St. Armands parking garage, City Manager Tom Barwin reported in his Dec. 14 newsletter.

And while city staff over the past year has expected the garage would open this month, the completion of the project has been delayed until January, Barwin added in the newsletter and announced on its Twitter account.

The paid parking program on St. Armands is scheduled to begin after the opening of the garage. Officially, the facility’s Certificate of Occupancy must be issued first, city Parking Division Manager Mark Lyons told the city commissioners earlier this year.

“About three dozen sleek, unobtrusive pay stations are now located around the circle,” Barwin wrote on Dec. 14. “Over the next few weeks, staff will test the programming and functionality [of the equipment].”   

“The pay stations are conveniently located, user-friendly and take credit or coins,” Barwin continued. “You’ll also be able to download an app and pay via your smart phone. (More details coming soon.)”

The rates will be color-coded, he noted, advising members of the public to look for signage when they park:

• Green (on the circle) — $1.50 per hour.
• Yellow (periphery) — $1 per hour.
• Purple (surface lot at 58 Fillmore Drive) — 75 cents per hour.

Parking in the garage will cost 50 cents per hour, Lyons has told the City Commission.

A graphic shows the areas where parking pay stations have been installed on St. Armands Circle. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

The hours for the paid street parking will be 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. The fee for the garage will be in effect 24 hours a day, Monday through Saturday, Lyons said on July 2.

“The St. Armands merchants and City staff have worked closely on how best to resolve the parking crunch on the circle,” Barwin pointed out in the newsletter. “[I]t was agreed a public parking garage within a short walk to the shops and restaurants would free up on-street parking and alleviate traffic congestion on the circle,” he added.

Revenue from the paid parking program will be used to pay off the bonds the City Commission authorized to cover the expense of the $15-million garage. The annual debt service on the bonds will be about $1.3 million, city staff has reported.

A new pay station stands on St. Armands. Photo courtesy City of Sarasota

The pay station equipment “was selected after extensive demonstrations were conducted on St. Armands Circle,” asking people to test several different variations, Barwin pointed out in the newsletter.

“Once this program is in place,” he continued, “a paid parking program will be implemented in downtown along portions of Main Street and Palm Avenue by May 2019, as approved by the City Commission.”