New Parking Rates in Delray Beach
Starting May 1 5th Parking Rates went up. Parking will cost $4 an hour on Atlantic Avenue - from Swinton Ave. to the Beach (A1A) - $3 an hour along A1A from Casuarina Road to Beach Drive. There are meters everywhere else at $2 an hour.
If this sounds like a lot, it is important to note that many studies have shown that City rates have been too low for too long; rates are much higher in surrounding municipalities. Furthermore, prior to this change, the rate structure in our Village by the Sea was at best, confusing. Often, people did not know the fee until they entered their info into the parking app – Park Mobile. The new “T’ parking designation takes some of the mystery out of the process.
Parking policies and rates are one of those issues that are constantly the subject of debate in every city. In general, traffic studies propose market rate pricing for curbside, surface level, and structured parking (garages). It’s counterintuitive, but research shows the higher the parking rates, the more likely drivers will find a place to park near their destination and shopkeepers will experience more customer traffic. Marginal visitors to the city are driven from the market, and that leaves more and better spaces for more committed shoppers. If you would like to do a deep dive into the subject visit our local library or download an electronic version of The High Cost of Free Parking written by Professor Donald C. Shoup.
Demand-based pricing increases efficiency in a city’s parking scheme. Just like airlines charging a premium for peak travel times, demand-based parking charges rates that drivers are willing and able to pay. Consequently, parking rates are substantially higher on Friday night at 8:00 on Atlantic Avenue than SE 4th Avenue at 10:00 AM Saturday. That’s why the Old School Square parking garage is free during the day and charges a fee in the evening. The City has invested significant dollars in automatic License Plate Readers, vacant and occupied indicators, and computer systems that automatically track your expiration time and notifies you to increase your payment ---- via your smart phone. No longer do drivers require a pocketful of change, a credit card that malfunctions, or sun-cracked viewing screen, or the need to jump up from dinner to feed the meter. Unlike the weather - where everybody complains but nobody can do anything about it - parking access is something everyone complains about, but the City has done something about it. We should expect that the City will continue to refine rates and parking policy as traffic patterns change and residents provide feedback.
The decision to up the rates has had mixed reviews. The Parking Management Advisory Board voted 4-1 in favor of an increase, and there was a unanimous consensus by the City Commission to direct the City Manager to change the fee structure. Studies and resident complaints indicate the need to move parked cars and traffic off East Atlantic Avenue and into the City’s garages. At present, the municipal garages are underutilized, rarely experiencing over 60 percent capacity. The expectation is that the price increase will drive (pun intended) more people to park in these structures rather than driving in circles around downtown looking for a place to park.
Also, those living in the downtown Delray Beach area where residential parking is not provided are eligible to purchase a Downtown Residential Parking Permit. A Senior Permit is available to residents 70 years and older. The permit allows parking at listed locations without paying parking fees. According to the City’s website there are also various other parking permits available for purchase: City Resident Downtown Parking Permit, Beach Parking Permits for Residents and Non-Residents, and Marina Historic District Parking Permits (Marina/Boat Residents only). Please see the City’s website for more information. https://www.delraybeachfl.gov/government/city-departments/public-works/parking/parking-permits