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Front Page » Top Stories » City Of Miami Drops Parking Fees At Downtown Garages For Holidays

City Of Miami Drops Parking Fees At Downtown Garages For Holidays

Written by on December 6, 2007

By Catherine Lackner
This holiday season, shoppers in downtown Miami will get at least one thing on their wish list — free parking.

The Miami Parking System began offering three hours of free parking in four of its garages every Saturday and Sunday, beginning Nov. 24. Motorists whose on-street meters have expired will be issued a "Holiday Courtesy Citation" granting up to one hour of parking past their expiration time, thus avoiding a parking ticket.

"Receiving a parking ticket is never fun, particularly during the holiday season," said Art Noriega, the parking system’s executive director, in a statement. "With MPA’s courtesy time extensions for on-street parking as well as free garage parking, shoppers will be free to focus on everything downtown Miami has to offer during the holiday season."

The garages offering three-hour parking waivers are No. 1 at 40 N.W. Third St., No. 2 at 90 S.W. First Street, No. 3 at 190 N.E. Third St. and No. 4 at 100 S.E. Second Street. Garages 1 and 2 are currently closed on Sundays.

"Many customers are not aware that our regular rates in MPA facilities are typically lower than at privately owned facilities," Mr. Noriega explained in his statement. "Our rates are set by the City of Miami Commission with an eye toward keeping parking affordable for residents and visitors."

The free parking idea first surfaced in October at the downtown authority’s monthly board of directors meeting. Miami Commissioner and authority director Joe Sanchez suggested it as a way to lure holiday shoppers to downtown.

"When we talk to people about shopping downtown, their biggest complaint is parking," he said then. "We’re competing with shopping malls, and with Miami Midtown, for those shoppers."

He also suggested that the downtown business group promote the free parking and make merchants aware of it, which the authority has been quick

to do.

"A DDA representative came by yesterday and gave parking coupons and a flier explaining the program to my employees," said Jose Goyanes, an authority member who operates retail stores and a restaurant, La Loggia, downtown. He said Davon Barbour, the authority’s manager of economic development, visited his businesses

"He went by my stores with stacks of coupons, and made sure the employees know how the program works," Mr. Goyanes said Nov. 20.

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