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New Parking Rules For Downtown Pensacola

Photo via Flickr//Gregory Moines

Rules for using the roughly 6,000 parking spaces in downtown Pensacola are undergoing a makeover by the Downtown Improvement Board.

DIB Director Ron Butlin says that, along with growth and busier times in the downtown area are leading them to take another look at the big parking picture, and ways to make things better. The primary change is extending the two-hour time limit on Palafox from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

“The reason for that is, people who come down at 3:15 and park on Palafox, know they’ve not used their two hours by five o’clock,” said Butlin. “So basically, you can park on Palafox at 3:15 and stay all night, which is clearly bad for the businesses that are open on Palafox until five or six or even later.”

Other changes include: making it a violation for someone to move their vehicle one or two spaces over on the same block in an effort to occupy prime parking for long periods. People who work downtown are being offered the chance to rent spaces on surface lots for $25 per month. Parking on side streets, lots and garages on Saturday will remain without a time limit thanks to busier Saturdays.

Pay Stations are being moved to Zaragoza and single metered spaces are going up on Main Street, to better serve the more popular downtown destinations. And violators will be facing a $10 fine for a first offense; $15 for a second, and more for subsequent missteps.

“We’re asking to increase the third ticket to $30, and create a new category for a fourth ticket which is $40,” Butlin said. “That’s to try to modify people’s behavior.”

Two-hour restricted parking is also being set up along Tarragona and Alcaniz Streets to ensure parking spaces are available for visitors and shoppers. Opposition to the plan is already mounting in a number of social media and online forums. Butlin says it’s not aimed at chasing visitors away from downtown.

“We obviously want people to come downtown,” said Butlin. “What we don’t want is somebody working downtown who understands the parking system real well gaming the system. We want the spaces on Palafox to be available, especially for visitors and guests coming downtown who aren’t that familiar with downtown and be able to find and parking space.”

Depending on the change itself, DIB Director Ron Butlin says the times of implementation vary, but will begin on Monday, Sept. 29.

Part of getting out the word on the changes involves increased visibility; placement of flags for key surface lots, and a video that allows guests, workers and stakeholders to understand the modifications in under three minutes. Information on the new parking rules are available at DowntownPensacola.com.