Pay stations that take credit cards are replacing the old parking meters at Madeira Beach.
MADEIRA BEACH – Pay stations have been ordered for parking lots owned by the city of Madeira Beach, including John’s Pass Village, and the city should have a totally automated parking system in place by the end of March.
City Manager Shane Crawford said the automated parking system will offer added conveniences for motorists along with savings in maintenance and meter replacement costs for the city. The pay stations have the potential to pay for themselves in a relatively short period of time, said Mayor Travis Palladeno.
The automated system allows prepayment for parking with either a debit or credit card, or coins. Paper money will not be accepted, Crawford said. The Florida-based company providing the machines recommended against using dollar bills, as they can cause operational problems in beach locations where sand, water and high humidity are present.
The system as ordered also will not allow parking time to be added from a remote location with a cell phone. But that feature can be added later if desired, Crawford said.
Contracts for automated parking stations for the 12 city-owned lots have been let, but preparation and delivery will take a couple of months, Crawford indicated. Replacement of the parking meters with pay stations will begin at the south end of the city with John’s Pass Village and South Beach Park, and work northward.
Installation work should go quickly and automated pay stations should be a reality at all the city lots by the end of March, said Central Services Director Dave Marsicano, who is overseeing the project. The exception is Kitty Stewart Park, where a new beachfront restaurant is planned that will include a parking lot redesign.
The city currently replaces about 40 to 50 parking meters a year, along with batteries that cost around $20,000 a year alone. So the savings to the city by switching to pay stations could be significant, Palladeno said.
The automated system is being purchased through a state contract, which offers good pricing and nominal credit card fees, Marsicano added.
Madeira Beach residents will continue to park free at all the city owned lots. Decals, which can be obtained at city hall, must be displayed on the vehicle.
New beach walkovers
In addition to easier parking, beachgoers should have a safer and easier walk to the water with the replacement of all beach walkovers. That job will be completed in the next 4 to 6 months, Marsicano said.
Crawford said the wood in existing walkovers is warped and stressed, and has caused some significant injuries.
“We’ve had a lot of insurance claims, so I asked to have the walkover replacements stepped up and made a priority,” he said.
The new walkovers will be made of a Brazilian hardwood that is longer lasting than a composite, said Marsicano. The same material is used on the deck at Archibald Park and the boardwalk at John’s Pass Village.
“We want everything to be consistent, to have the same look,” Marsicano said. That includes the signage, which is also being replaced with signboards carrying the new Madeira Beach branded logo. Informational signs at the walkovers will tell people leaving the beach what their street location is.
The parking change is costing about $275,000 and the beach walkovers $246,000, Crawford said. He added that both projects are expected to be under budget.
All city-owned seawalls also are in the process of being replaced. That project has a completion date of March, according to Marsicano.
Palladeno said he is pleased to see the infrastructure projects finally started. He praised Crawford and Marsicano for getting the work under way.
“The city manager and Dave (Marsicano) are getting things done in the city that have needed to be done for years,” he said.