SEASIDE, Fla. (WMBB) — Parking problems have historically plagued the small beach town of Seaside.
Now, town officials have overhauled the parking structure in an attempt to ease frustrations.
“The main difference is the parking attendants are no longer going to be onsite,” Seaside Community Development Property Management Director Jeremy Barnes said. “We thought that it was the next evolutionary step in paid parking. We went from low tech, high touch is what we referred it to, to now it’s strictly the ‘Passport’ app. People are most used to that when they come from larger municipal areas like Atlanta and Dallas.”
Visitor Lauren Taylor said the experience was seamless.
“It was actually pretty simple and we took a picture of the sign for the app and it downloaded pretty quickly,” Taylor said. “Probably a little easier if you are technology savvy. It took us maybe 5 minutes and it was pretty simple.”
Seaside has also introduced new staggered hourly rates for parking.
“The goal is to keep our vacancy around 10-15%, so there is always an available supply,” Barnes said. “This year we’ve adjusted our rates per time block, where the lower vacancies are more per hour to try to give customers that available parking.”
Instead of a $5-an-hour flat rate, the fee will change depending on the crowds.
Morning and mid-afternoon hours will be as low as $2 an hour, but busy times around lunch and dinner will be as high as $7 an hour.
“I can’t stress enough, this isn’t for monetary gain,” Barnes said. “That is not a driver in this. It’s simply parking management. All of the funds collected go towards offsetting the expense of the free shuttle from Grayton and then also other public improvement projects to improve the town and the overall guest experience. That’s our goal.”
Seaside also introduced new complimentary spaces for hour-long and 15-minute stops.
The new parking rules will be in effect from March 1-October 31.