The Sarasota City Commission gave staff direction Thursday on a new plan to move around some downtown parking meters and permanently remove meters on some streets in an attempt to appease downtown business owners.
The changes were made after the Downtown Sarasota Merchants made a list of suggestions that including keeping meters on heavily parked streets, while creating some free parking in areas close to the downtown core.
At a special meeting, the commissioners voted 4-1 to make the following changes by Oct. 1:
Meters will be removed on:
• State Street
• First Street from Lemon Avenue to Orange Avenue
• Cocoanut Avenue
Meters will be installed on:
• Main Street from U.S. 301 to East Street
• Ringling Boulevard from U.S. 301 to School Avenue
• East Street from Ringling Boulevard to Adams Lane
• Adams Lane from East Street to U.S. 301
Meters will remain on:
• Main Street from Orange Avenue to Gulfstream Avenue
• Palm Avenue from McAnsh Square to Cocoanut Avenue
• Central Avenue, First Street and Pineapple Avenue at Five Points Park
• Lemon Avenue
• First Street from Central Avenue to Lemon Avenue
The moves shift more of the meters toward the Sarasota County Judicial Center.
Commissioners also gave staff direction to charge $1 per hour for the meters from Nov. 1 through May 1 and charge 50 cents an hour for the other six months of the year.
The meters will come back online Oct. 1. Uniform hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for both metered parking and two-hour parking spots will also be implemented.
Staff also received direction to create parking passes for downtown business owners and employees that could be transferrable from vehicle to vehicle.
The commission plans to revisit the meters’ placement and fees on an annual basis and receive figures on what it will cost to move around the meters.
Mayor Suzanne Atwell and Commissioners Paul Caragiulo, Willie Shaw and Shannon Snyder voted for the changes.
Although Vice Mayor Terry Turner participated in the discussion to make meter modifications, he voted against them because he believes the meters should be removed altogether.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].