St. Augustine Parking Garage opens express lane with pilot program
The City of St. Augustine has launched two new downtown mobility efforts – one focused on city parking and the other on getting public input on new projects the city should pursue in part of its core.
The first is a new pilot program at the municipal garage. The other is a survey and public workshop on the future of the historic area community redevelopment area of the city, which aims in part to improve traffic conditions in part of the city.
The city kicked off its pilot program Monday at the historic downtown parking lot at 1 Cordova Street, according to a city press release.
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The garage, which can accommodate 1,200 vehicles, operates with people paying city employees when they enter the garage. Now people can pay using the ParkStAug mobile app or at a kiosk.
“This pay-at-parking option has been in the works for some time and we are excited to launch the pilot program,” Public Works Director Reuben Franklin said in the statement. “We’ve had great success with the parking app and payment kiosks in our street parking spots and parking lots, and now we can offer this great convenience to people parking in the garage.”
Here’s how it works:
- The northernmost entrance to the garage is now an expressway, marked with a blue sign. There is no parking attendant at this toll station.
- Drivers using the express lane can park anywhere in the garage. Once parked, people can enter their license plate at the payment kiosk or use the ParkStAug mobile app to pay. People don’t need to put a receipt stub on their dashboard because the pay-per-plate system keeps track of who paid.
- To register for the app, visit ParkStAug.com.
- People have 15 minutes to make a payment once they enter the garage.
- The cost is $15 per day for the regular rate and $3 with a ParkNow card, which can be used at the kiosk.
- People who want to pay for an attendant should use one of the regular channels.
- For more information, call the Downtown Historic Parking Center office at 904-484-5160.
Franklin said he expects the pilot program to last 60 to 90 days. Then the city will evaluate the program to see if it will become a permanent part of the operation of the garage. Among other things, the city will review user feedback as well as the effectiveness of the city’s enforcement mechanism for issuing tickets to non-payers, he said.
One of the reasons for the new program is to prevent lines of cars from building up at the entrance, Franklin said.
Historic Downtown Community Redevelopment Area
The city created the Historic Area Community Redevelopment Area, which covers part of the city center, including the parking lot, in 2000 “to address the problem of downtown parking and transportation,” according to the city. .
The CRA collects a portion of property tax revenue within its jurisdiction. The money is used to pay off the town’s debt to the garage. The CRA’s budget for fiscal year 2021 was over $1.45 million.
According to a city report, “95%, or $1,387,462.95, was used to cover expenses related to the cost of the garage. This underutilization left an available budget of $70,338.05, which can be used for future project and program opportunities.
“Staff are evaluating possible expansion of the neighborhood. Expansion would allow the agency to address other blight issues and acquire additional funding for further redevelopment.”
The CRA is due to expire in 2030, and the city wants to extend the life of the CRA so it can be used to fund other projects after the garage’s debt is paid off in 10 years, Franklin said.
While the funds could be used to improve traffic conditions, the city could also use them for things like historic preservation, Franklin said.
Residents, business owners and other stakeholders can weigh in on the future of ARC and which projects, if any, they would like to see extended ARC for. The city will host an open house-style workshop on the subject from 2 to 7 p.m. on July 28 at the Alcazar Room at City Hall, located at 75 King Street.
People can also attend the workshop virtually at bit.ly/StAugHACRA. On the same site, people can find out more about the project and take an open survey until September 27. It is estimated that it takes 20-25 minutes to participate in the workshop, and people can come and go at any time during the workshop. .
Franklin and ARC Administrator Jaime Perkins will be there with representatives from S&ME, a city consultant.
“We’re excited to get public engagement for downtown. I hope people come out and engage,” Franklin said.