Jacksonville Beach changing downtown parking

By Ashley Mitchem, Morning traffic, news reporter, amitchem@wjxt.com
Published On: Aug 12 2014 02:28:54 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 12 2014 06:36:17 PM EDT

If you plan to spend a lot of time at Jacksonville Beach - you will soon have LESS free parking. Plans are in the works to create two-hour parking zones in the downtown area of Jacksonville Beach. Specific street parking spots will be limited to a couple hours. Channel 4's Ashley Mitchem tells us why the city is putting a limit on these parking spots and who will benefit.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -

Over the next six weeks, two-hour free parking zones are being created in downtown Jacksonville Beach.

Mayor Charlie Latham said plans have been in place for about a year to limit some city parking spots to two hours. He said the changes are being made to address complaints from business owners who feared paid parking would affect their bottom line.

The mayor, along with business owners and residents, decided to add two-hour limited curb parking areas instead of parking meters.

"It provides us the opportunity to come in and use the merchants, then increase the frequency of shop visitors and restaurant visitors by having that free parking available," Latham said.

The parking time limits were made to benefit business owners, but will also allow customers to park for free long enough to shop and eat.

"Infrastructure for parking is important, and short-term parking is free for our businesses," Latham said. "People can come in and shop, move on and somebody else can fill the space."

People who live at the beaches said it makes sense for customers, but not beachgoers.

"It should be longer than two hours, though but it's perfect for merchants," said beaches resident Nancy Belec.

Currently beach parking is free Monday through Thursday, but from April through the end of September, Friday through Sunday you have to pay $5.

The two-hour limited parking places will be available all year long.

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