The Fort Myers Beach town council has authorized town manager Roger Hernstadt to spend $120,000 on a new parking app that some on the council believe will help alleviate the heavy traffic issues on the island.
A company called Civic Smart will install sensors at all 378 of the town’s parking spaces. The sensors will be placed on the poles that are now located in each town parking spot. The sensors communicate to an app to let drivers looking for a parking spot know if the spot is available or occupied.
After the initial $120,000 cost for the system to be installed in all the spots, there’s an annual cost to taxpayers of $16,000. The town will use money it’s been collecting from increased parking fees. Earlier this year, the cost to park in a town spot was raised from $3.00 per hour to $5.00 per hour.
The hope is that giving drivers an option to find a parking spot quicker will get them off the roads faster and alleviate traffic. Drivers looking for a place to park on the beach must know about the app, download it, and use it to find a spot. Councilman Dan Allers voted against spending the money on the app at this time. He said, “I don’t see a majority of people downloading the app to use it. Now is not the right time to spend this money.”
Vice Mayor Rexann Hosafross said, “We told people we were doing this. It will become popular. It will help with traffic.”
The town is hoping private lots will join the town system to increase the number of spots on the app. Private lot owners would have to pay for the sensors.
The town currently uses the Passport app to make paying for a spot more convenient for drivers. That app also communicates with town code enforcement officers who are notified the second a car goes over its time limit so the town can immediately reward a driver with a ticket. Hernstadt did not say whether the current Passport payment parking app will be integrated into the new sensor system or if a new app will need to be downloaded by drivers.
Siesta Key and Venice offer so many free parking spots. Maybe we should take a lesson from those coastal towns.
What Mango said
The app is a great idea and convenient, as it’s right in front of your parking space as you pull and your “PARKED” so everyone sees it.
It’s 2022 guys things change and everyone uses phones today….
BUT this isn’t the problem!! The problem is……that the rate is ridiculous and town limiting your parking space to 2 hours is also ridiculous. How inconvenient for employee parking during an entire shift, families having a beach day and etc.
The two hour limited parking might be convenient for someone running into a shop or eating and leaving, but $5.00 an hour is gouging people period!
Zero thought into this. But again this is coming from non-business owner thinking!!
It make more sense to have it at $2.00 or less an hour with an option to upload from phone and not limiting your parking. Maybe a sign NO overnight parking or will be towed?
The county parking lot hasn’t changed rates since 2019 since we moved here, and offers $2.00 an hour & no limit to how long located in the large parking lot near the pier FMB. Which is packed every day, the reasoning is lower rates in the county lot!
Empty parking spaces in the town app zone parking which we have noticed during non season. If your rates were lower and not limiting parking those spaces would be filled and you’d be making money all summer.
Who the hell wants to go back to their car enjoying a beach day with family or in the middle of a working shift (especially during season(“no chance”) and having to find another parking space because their space is only limited to two hours?? Every employee will get fined no one has time to leave to do this. There’s zero parking for owners or employees so this this would be our only option as well. Ridiculous to all the workers! But again does this surprise anyone that the town does things ass backwards and doesn’t think things through or think about local businesses, locals dining or a beach day or our hard workers & tourist. Come on!
What John Lallo said
This has nothing to do with parking or a parking app, and I’m aware that the trolley system is not managed by the town — but many more people would use the trolley (therefore reducing traffic) if they had an idea of when the heck a trolley would show up. The old app was great, you could track each trolley in real time and know exactly when one would show up. The new app is a disaster, riders have zero idea where the trolleys are at or when one will be there. The current app is horrible.
Has anyone considered the reasoning behind people driving around are indeed not looking to pay the over inflated fee of $5 a hour .
They are looking for the best deal hence if they lowered their fees and extended the time allowed to park would alleviate traffic sooner and all spots would be filled year round.
There are so many empty spots this time of year .
Come and enjoy our beautiful town but don’t go 1 second over on your parking or you will be ticketed.
How are drivers going to know about the app? There are a lot of people that come to the beach and don’t use technology to park.
I agree with Dewaine, it will be a s-show with multiple drivers pining for the same spot.
This is such a waste!
This is a waste of money.
If it does actually ‘work’…especially during season, could be 3,4,10,20 people rushing for a single, vacant parking space. Tempers could run high!
That is a waste!
Great. I see what council hasbeen sold. Now they have been given the tools to automate ticketing. It will not become ‘popular’.
Sounds like a waste of money