One of the most frequent complaints that I receive about Miami Beach is that it is very difficult to find parking. I hear this from residents, from tourists, and it is a complaint that business owners register, as the inability of their customers, and potential customers to find convenient parking hurts their business.
The city has constructed new garages over the past few years at 5th and Alton, 17th Street, and Meridian Avenue. We also continue to plan for additional garages in Sunset Harbour, 23rd Street and in North Beach, however, we have not addressed a basic problem of letting our residents and visitors know on a real time basis where there are vacant parking spaces. The technology is fairly basic and requires a counting mechanism at both the entry and exit points of each municipal garage, which can send a wireless message to a Parking Application to convey information on a real time basis about the number of spaces in any particular garage.
This would be similar to the information that you might request from the Movie line before you leave your home to find the theater nearest your home playing the film you wish to see. In this case however, you would enter the address of your destination in Miami Beach and press a button to locate the nearest municipal garages. You would instantly receive information on the address of the 3 closest garages and the number of vacant parking spaces currently available in each.
This enhancement will save time and money for the driver, who no longer will have to waste time driving in traffic looking for a place to park or settle for an outrageously expensive valet parking spot. It will save energy, (fuel) as the customer can proceed directly to the nearest available parking garage, and it can be used to promote business in Miami Beach, as we will be seen as a progressive city and one with a social conscience.
I will be placing an item on this subject on the City Commission agenda at our January 19th meeting. I believe this is a great way to start the New Year with an idea that is long overdue! I wish all of our residents a safe and happy holiday season and a Healthy New Year!