It’s been a pain to park on Flagler Street because of construction.
Now, the people who run Miami’s parking system are trying to help. Starting May 26, drivers who venture to the heart of downtown will get a free hour of parking.
The gift is meant to bring shoppers back to businesses that are suffering from construction that never seems to end.
Construction began last year in front of the county courthouse and crawled east toward Biscayne Boulevard with turtle-like progress. The contractor has been ordered to finish the first four of the project’s original 13 phases by August, said Erik Austin, a spokesman for Miami’s Downtown Development Authority.
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READ MORE: Street makeover stalls and business suffers
With no end date in sight to the dusty, lane-blocking work, the Miami Parking Authority worked with PayByPhone to come up a way to draw business lost by the absence of sidewalks. PayByPhone is a free app used by entering the location number of the parking zone found on the street signs. Those using PayByPhone will receive one hour free, along with avoiding the 35-cent convenience fee.
Austin said the task force has not chosen another contractor to finish the project. The next Flagler Street Task Force meeting is at 9 a.m. June 5 at the Olympia Theater, Austin said.
Parking Authority CEO Arthur Noriega said his agency is doing what it can to ease the stress of construction on Flagler Street visitors.
“It’s been so much of a burden,” he said. “We just want to be a good neighbor.”
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