Wynwood’s free parking ride could be over

Tomas Regalado and Art Noriega
Tomas Regalado and Art Noriega

Miami’s rapidly-growing Wynwood neighborhood has benefited from free street parking in front of businesses and art galleries for years. The city’s parking authority is facing opposition for its plan to start charging drivers who park in the area.

Starting on Sept. 1, Wynwood street parkers must pay $1.50 per hour and can only park in designated zones for three hours. Drivers have the option to purchase parking decals for the western edge of the neighborhood for $55 a month.

Miami Parking Authority CEO Art Noriega told the Miami Herald the Wynwood plan was conceived more than a year ago. It held off on implementing it to accommodate area business owners. To Noriega, the plan is not just about generating parking revenue: it’s part of a larger vision to get the city’s trolley service and new parking lots and garages in the neighborhood.

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“We’re not working in a silo where it’s just about parking,” Noriega said. “This isn’t stuff where we just woke up one morning and said two weeks from now let’s just roll out this parking plan.”

Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado joined numerous Wynwood business owners and other stakeholders in opposing the idea.

“You’re just trying to kill a baby that is just starting to walk,” Regalado said. [Miami Herald]Eric Kalis