New signs are up, and new rules and rates are in place for some of the 1,700 Gainesville-controlled downtown parking spaces.
Implemented in late May, the newest parking changes are not as sweeping as ones executed in January. The January changes, in part, converted free two-hour spaces to paid slots, which met with pushback from downtown parkers and business owners.
“We have made only small, incremental changes,” said Rossana Passaniti, the city’s public information officer. “We believe the Gainesville community will be pleased.”
The free two-hour spots returned in February after the Gainesville City Commission suspended the January rules, and prices on some paid spaces returned to pre-January levels.
The latest changes were developed in consultation with downtown business owners and employees as well as other downtown stakeholders, Passaniti said.
- Changing a set of free two-hour spaces to 30-minute spaces on Southeast First Street between University Avenue and Southeast First Avenue. Other free two-hour spaces will remain two-hour spots.
- Extending a set of four 5-minute pick-up and drop-off spaces to two-hour free spaces on Southwest Second Street, near the Southwest Parking garage.
- Converting paid parking spaces to free 30-minute spaces on the first block of Southwest Fifth Terrace.
- Lengthening the time limit at four city surface lots to four hours. The parking charge for Lot 3 (North Main Street and Northeast Second Avenue), Lot 4 (Southeast First Avenue and Southeast Third Street), Lot 5 (East University Avenue and Northeast First Street) and Lot 13 (Southwest First Avenue and Southwest First Street) will be 50 cents an hour. Parking at Lot 2, at the intersection of Northwest Second Avenue and Northwest Second Street, remains free.
- Offering a $20 monthly parking permit for Southwest Downtown Parking Garage, 105 S.W. Third Street, to employees of downtown businesses. Previously a monthly permit would have cost employees $25 a month.
The paid spaces and surface lots will charge a fee from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, but are free other times.
“Where parking fees are required during the week, those spaces are free on the weekend, and they are free after 5 p.m., and they are free on city-designated holidays,” Passaniti said.
The conversion of the spaces along Southwest First Street to 30-minute parking was done in consultation with Alachua County officials, Passaniti said. The time limit on the free spaces, which are between Bo Diddley Plaza and the Alachua County Administration Building, have been trimmed in order to encourage these spaces to turn over more often.
“Our counterparts at the county wanted residents to be able to come in quickly to the Alachua County Administration Office and take care of what they needed to,” Passaniti said.
Commissioner Marihelen Wheeler had spoken at the meeting in February about the then-loss of free spaces around the county building, and said keeping spaces around the county building free was helpful for people from outlying areas driving into Gainesville to conduct business with the county.
Unlike other city-owned spaces, the downtown parking garage will continue to charge a fee on the weekends. The parking garage rates are $1 per hour from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and $5 per night for parking between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Starting May 5, entrance to the parking garage was limited to permit holders between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. from Thursday to Sunday. Permit holders must enter the garage from the Southwest Third Street entrance during those hours.