The city of Sarasota is reminding the public that parking meter rates rose Nov. 1, as planned previously by the Sarasota City Commission.
The maximum fee for one hour of parking is $1 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; parking is free on Sundays and holidays. A person paying with coins is not required to pay for a full hour.
The seasonal rates will be in effect through April 30, 2012. From May through October, the maximum fee for parking is 50 cents per hour.
Disabled drivers with a valid disabled parking license plate or placard are not required to pay on-street parking rates. However, city staff said payment is required in public parking garages and lots.
The City Commission implemented paid parking May 23, after city staff pointed out that the revenue from the meters was necessary to cover the expense of parking enforcement downtown. However, despite a public relations campaign that included Mayor Suzanne Atwell as a “parking ambassador,” helping residents and tourists learn how to use the meters, complaints from the public and especially businesses led the City Commission to backtrack on the meter plan in July.
Business owners told the City Commission their customer traffic had diminished greatly during the time the meters were operational during the summer.
After the city bagged the meters, it also adjusted their placement around town. Meters were removed from State Street as well as the 1300 and 1500 blocks of First Street, Cocoanut Avenue and Gulfstream Avenue. Those meters were relocated to Main Street, Adams Lane, East Street and east of U.S. 41 on Ringling Boulevard, principally the city’s judicial district.
The city also created six free, 15-minute parking spaces on Main Street between the 1300 and 1500 blocks.
For more information, including a map detailing free and economical parking in downtown, visit www.sarasotagov.com or contact the Parking Division at 954-7057.