Cites unpopularity among businesses, residents
By Meagan McGone
COCOA BEACH - The Cocoa Beach City Commission voted unanimously to suspend its pay-by-phone parking plan for now, citing unhappy businesses and residents, as a result of the change.
Originally, the pay-by-phone spots included 214 spaces from North First Street to South First Street along State Road A1A, and fees cost $2.50 during prime hours on weekends and holidays from Feb. 1 to Sept. 30.
Motorists were instructed to pay for parking in those spots via credit card by calling a number or downloading an application on a smart phone through a mobile parking system called ParkNOW!, but the City Commission suspended this pay-by-phone parking plan a little more than a month after it was enforced.
"I wasn't convinced of the direction we were heading in," said Cocoa Beach Commissioner Dave Netterstrom. "I walked around and spoke with perhaps 70 to 90 percent of the businesses in the downtown area, and I heard loud and clear that this pay-by-cell thing was a problem on many levels. It was not completely thought out, not implemented well, and too many changes were happening at once, with no proper input from businesses."
The city will likely revisit the issue after the November election. Commissioner Netterstrom said the Commission needs to decide what issues it is trying to solve with the pay-by-phone parking program, as well as how to move forward with a plan that involves the stakeholders, who it might affect.
"I am glad the motion passed unanimously," he said.
Commissioner Netterstrom said the city spent $7,000 to start the program, a cost that mainly covered painting curbs and adding signs.
"Although I don't know the amount, I'm sure that we did collect some parking fees during the short time that does offset the $7,000," he said.