MONEY ASAP: Beach May Charge For Pier Parking By Summer

The St. Augustine Beach Commission unanimously agreed that parking on A1A beach needs to be paid for. The city is looking to bring in more revenue, mainly to maintain and beautify the pier they say.

Pay to park systems would be set up at the pier, by Jacks BBQ, the Sunshine Shop, and at A Street. Commissioners discussed starting rates around $2.50/hr.

rich obrien said the pier lot should be charged premium parking rates, and also believes we should be charging $15 an hour to rent the volleyball courts. Good luck with that one.

Mayor Undine George recommended using the "Passport" app, which is a pay by phone system. She noted that the system is already being used in Gainesville, as well as over 350 cities across the country. The Mayor pointed out a few interesting things about the system. Some would be the potential to customize paid parking zones around the city, and the ability to charge custom rates, meaning locals may have the option to pay a less expensive rate per hour than tourists.

Passport provides signage, and the app charges a 35 cent fee on top of what the rate set by the city would be. The costs incurred by the city would come in to play when purchasing kiosks, which the city estimates may cost between $10,000-$15,000.

This would presumably affect the Wednesday market as well, although those concerns were not addressed at the meeting.

The commissioners say the system is expected to generate around $600,000 in revenue for St. Augustine Beach.

Commissioners discussed beginning the system by the end of the year, with Commissioner Don Samora recommending they may want to implement this before the summer.

"People tell me they can't believe we're not doing this already." Samora told the Commission. "I prefer to act rather than drag things out."

At the end of the extended meeting, commissioners agreed that they should conduct a search for any other app developers who may be qualified to provide the city with similar services. The overall consensus was clear though, that the beach will see pay to park zones as soon as possible.

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