After weeks of complaints from Wynwood business owners and employees over ongoing changes in parking fees throughout Miami's hippest neighborhood, the Miami Parking Authority announced yesterday a new, more comprehensive plan that includes provisions for local employees.
"In an area that has experienced fast-paced growth in a short span of time, we believe that the new parking program will improve accessibility, safety, and mobility in the Wynwood BID," Rolando Tapanes, director of planning and development for the authority, said in a news release.
See also: Wynwood Parking Is the "Wild, Wild West"
The new program will expand the neighborhood's Pay by Phone parking areas west from the railroad tracks that cut across North Miami Avenue to Sixth Avenue, from NW 20th to NW 29th streets. But it will also include an employee parking program, with approximately 260 spaces designated for neighborhood employees at a cost of $30 a month, as well as a monthly program, with at least 85 spaces available for $55 a month.
The plan is set to take effect October 1, with a two-week grace period before actual citations are issued. Parking will be enforced from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day, with the standard rate set at $1.50 an hour for a maximum of three hours.
The announcement came less than two weeks after the neighborhood's ongoing parking debate was the focus of a weekly community breakfast event known as "Waffle Wednesdays."
At the event, held at the loft headquarters of the LiveNinja tech startup on NW 25th Avenue, parking authority chief Art Noriega explained his organization's intentions and fielded questions from residents, including many Wynwood business owners and workers who complained changes had frequently been sudden and poorly communicated.
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After the debate, Will Weinraub, CEO of LiveNinja, told New Times that the ongoing parking changes had resulted in drastic cost increases for his business and made it difficult to plan budgets; the most recent announcement, Weinraub said, was encouraging.
"We still have a ways to go as far as safety, security, and alleviation of those concerns, but this is definitely a step in the right direction," he said. "At least they're cutting a break for employers."