Red Sunset Merchants working on parking options

By Karla Cooper….

Karla Cooper, Parking Task Force Chairperson

The Red Sunset Merchants Association (RSMA) Parking Committee recently met to address parking issues in the South Miami area. At the first meeting, the committee and city officials discussed automated parking meters, which are coming to South Miami in mid-November, area valet parking contracts and employee parking.

The meeting, held on October 25th and hosted by Segafredo Café in South Miami, was led by chairperson Karla J. Cooper, co-owner of American Chariots Auto Broker, Inc., and attended by committee members, John Edward Smith, SoMiMag; Willy Quintana, Segafredo Café; Ed Boas, Lanes Men Store; Steve Kagan, Beverlee Kagan Antique Jewelry; and Luis Macedo, LAZ Parking.

South Miami city officials, including Mayor Philip Stoddard, City Manager Hector Mirabile, City Chief Financial Officer Alfredo Riverol and parking authority representatives, also attended.

The mid-November installation of automated parking meters in the South Miami area is welcome news to the committee. These meters will offer visitors seeking street parking the convenient payment options of cash, credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, cell phones and internet.

Another benefit of the automated meters will be the real-time information on the availability of parking at these meters, which will save South Miami visitors time and frustration. This statistical data can also be used by parking authorities to establish varying parking rates within the shopping district.

The automated meters will be remotely monitored to ensure they are functioning properly, which will decrease down time and minimize revenue loss.

Valet parking contracts currently in place in South Miami were also discussed by the committee. These contracts include a centralized valet system with four locations on Sunset Drive, which are situated at 57th Court and 58th Court on both the north and south sides, and contracted valet services at various business locations. A total of 27 meters of the city’s 400 plus meter inventory is currently used for valet parking.

Because there have been concerns expressed with the driving habits of the valet company employees, RSMA and the city will continue their efforts to ensure that the valet company drivers obey the posted speed and driving laws. Anyone with concerns about valet driving safety is encouraged to call the South Miami Police Department.

When discussing employee parking, committee members pointed out that many merchant employees are using the meters to park while at work, thereby reducing the number of meters available to area visitors.

The RSMA committee researched the available parking for merchant employees and found that the Municipal Garage, Plaza 57, First National Bank of South Miami and the Shops at Sunset Place offer parking plans with an average monthly cost of $55. The cost of this plan is less than $2 per day and is less than the cost of parking one hour at the meter.

City parking attendants will be watching closely for vehicles that are parked more than four hours at any meter, the current maximum time allowed. Business owners are encouraged to work closely with their employees to help them secure parking at available parking facilities.

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