It’s a price hike that Arnie Palenzuela says he noticed immediately.
Parking rates in the City of Fort Lauderdale have increased in some areas.
“Where we were spending about $10 a week, now it is going to cost up about $40 to $50 dollars a week to park at the beach,” Palenzuela said.
Hourly parking rates throughout the City of Fort Lauderdale previously ranged from $0.50 to $2.
But on July 1st, prices went up, ranging from $1 in some zones for residents, to $4 an hour in other zones for non-residents.
It doesn’t seem like much, but Palenzuela says the cost of parking near the beach several times a week is starting to add up.
“Fifty bucks a week means we can’t go out to a restaurant, or we can’t do other things that we like to do also,” Palenzuela said.
The price hike is at a time when restaurants are struggling for business.
During the meeting where City Commissioners voted to increase the parking rate, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis expressed concerns about the decrease in business.
“We are at a very tender moment coming back economically and we should try to encourage people to come visit our downtown,” Mayor Trantalis said.
In a statement, a City of Fort Lauderdale spokesperson said “The recent changes to the City’s parking structure established rates that are in line with those of other major cities."
The Miami Parking Authority also offers a similar program that includes resident and non-resident rates. In Fort Lauderdale, the resident rate amounts to a decrease in parking costs in some areas.”
They went on to say, “The new parking fees will fund structural repairs and maintenance in City parking facilities as well as upgrades to technology, including the expansion of access to digital permits and the future procurement of new meters that offer payment options such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.”
Palenzuela says though he lives in Wilton Manors, minutes away from the beach, he was told he does not qualify for the Fort Lauderdale Resident Parking Rate Program.
“I felt that we may not technically live in Fort Lauderdale but if you look we are basically in Fort Lauderdale, if you look at a map,” Palenzuela said.
NBC 6 Responds asked the City of Fort Lauderdale what options are available for non-residents, they told us:
“As a temporary measure during the City’s response to COVID-19, a new $10.00 all-day flat rate has been established that allows patrons to park from the time of purchase until midnight for a total cost of $10.00. This all-day rate provides visitors with close to a 70 percent discount from the current non¬-resident rate for an eight-hour stay. The rate is valid when using PayByPhone or paying at a pay station, but not at locations with coin meters.”