Downtown parking is not a new issue for the City of Miami. Business owners and residents have complained about parking - or the lack there of - for several years.
Monday Jamie Williams, a downtown business owner, asked council members to consider designated parking areas for businesses and reduce the parking limit from two hours to one hour.
City Manager Huey Long said the city is committed to resolving the issue.
“We are in the process of evaluating the request submitted by Mr. Jamie Williams,” said Long. “From our perspective, the issue will be viewed from two different perspectives: Short term and long term solutions.”
Long said the most important issue to be discussed will be the composition of businesses located in the downtown area as it relates to tourism.
For more than 40 years, Main Street businesses dealt with the inconvenience of serpentine streets, which provided little - and in some cases, no - parking.
The inconvenience led city leaders to replace the serpentine design with a four-lane road and added store-front parking.
“We have defeated our purpose if we have spent all of this money to tear out the serpentine street and not have parking,” said Brent Brassfield.
Williams told council members that many people disregard the current two-hour parking, prohibiting customers and delivery drivers access to the businesses.
The businesses that are open in the evening suffer tremendously, according to Williams, due to events at the Coleman Theatre.
Williams suggested Coleman audiences should be directed to use the parking area north of the theatre.
“Tourism creates an entirely new dimension to the equation due to the fact Route 66 happens to be the primary downtown thoroughfare,” said Long. “There are a number of things to be considered such as: parking lot lighting, parking patrol, time allocation, employee parking and a number of other significant ideas that can resolve the parking problem.”
Brassfield said he doesn’t think decreasing the time limit on parking will resolve the issue. That would require full-time parking patrol, according to Brassfield, which would hinder businesses by ticketing out-of-town visitors who exceed the time limit.
Brassfield added that parking issues are a good problem to have.
Regardless of the action taken to correct the problem, city leaders vow to find a solution.
“Most important will be partnering with local downtown business owners and listen to their ideas regarding short and long term resolution toward resolving downtown parking issues,” said Long.