Parking curbside in Miami Beach just got twice as expensive.
Rates rose citywide, but the biggest jump was in curbside meters in South Beach, which went from $1.75 to $4 an hour on Monday. Surface lots saw a smaller increase, bringing South Beach lots from $1.75 to $2 an hour.
City meters in Mid-Beach, from 23rd to 44th streets near Collins Avenue and Indian Creek Drive, rose from $1 to $3, and the meter hours were extended to 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. Surface lots in that area now charge $2.
Parking garage rates remain $1 per hour, but general monthly rates for city garages went from $70 to $100.
Daily rental rates for parking spaces shot up: valet parking leapt from $17 to $31.50; construction and special event (with the exception of nonprofit events) went from $10 to $25.
This intentional pricing strategy is designed to cut traffic, Miami Beach Commissioner Deede Weithorn said.
She said city traffic experts attribute 30 percent to 40 percent of traffic to drivers circling the block for streetside parking, a more convenient option than the cheaper parking garages.
“This was not about money,” she said. “This is about changing behavior.”
By price incentivizing drivers to choose parking garages and surface lots, the commission hopes to cut down on traffic snarls in the infamously gridlocked Miami Beach.
“We get complaints every single day,” Weithorn said. “We did our homework on this one.”
Residents still have access to discounted parking everywhere in the city at $1 per hour at city meters and lots, plus waived transaction fees for the ParkMobile App. Visitor parking for residents bumped from $1 to $3.
The money raised from the increase will fund the city’s mass transit — including the free trolley — research into park and ride lots, synchronizing traffic lights and more parking garages.
Brian Breslin, who works at a shared work space on Lincoln Road, said the higher fees will drive away white collar workers, hurting the economy of Miami Beach.
He said his local garage has raised prices already, from $1 per hour for the first four hours to $2, and from $2 for the next four hours to $3 to $4 per hour.
“The general theory is you offer cheap parking or good public transportation, and we all know there’s no good public transportation in Miami,” he said.
Weithorn said employers can always apply for discounted parking permits, but Breslin said there’s a one-year waiting list for any garage south of 44st Street. In his opinion, that effectively excludes all new businesses, as the older companies have deals with parking garages that will be grandfathered in.
Breslin said the multi-hundred dollar rise in street and garage parking prices is enough to make him consider a move to a workplace downtown, where “I’m not at the mercy of the city parking prices.”
Weithorn, who is term limited, said she’s confident Miami Beach made the right move by raising rates.
“Sometimes to change behavior, it has to hurt,” she said.