Come March, customers and visitors of downtown Mount Dora just may find parking a little easier. That’s the month when the city is expecting to begin a four-hour time limit on free street parking in its downtown core. The area’s public parking lots and parking garage, as well as other street parking will continue to provide free, unlimited parking for patrons requiring longer periods.
The goal is to make downtown’s scarce parking more convenient for visitors and customers.
The free four-hour parking is currently planned for every day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The citation amount is tentatively set for $25; however the details still have to be finalized with city staff and the Mount Dora City Council.
The program will roll out once all signage is in place and ample notification has been given to the public and businesses, which is estimated to be sometime in March. The city’s planned valet parking service could begin at the same time or shortly thereafter.
Once the four-hour parking is implemented, the City will continue to monitor and document concerns or issues to ensure the change is effective and runs smoothly. The area’s parking enforcement will be handled by downtown’s new dedicated police officer and supported by rest of the department.
For several years, much of downtown’s most convenient street parking has been occupied by business owners and employees, which contributed to frustrated customers and visitors circling the area like vultures to snag a rare spot.
Past efforts to curtail the problem were met without success and the issue has likely been exacerbated with the increased number of restaurants which employ more staff that require additional parking. In years past, the parking shortage was only felt during the tourist season, but last year patrons found it increasingly difficult to park even in the slow summer months.
Mount Dora visitors and customers that seek free parking with no time limits will still have that option available in all the downtown public parking lots and the parking garage on Donnelly Street. Additionally, street parking that isn’t in the immediate downtown core will also have no time limits.
The city also has an electric parking shuttle program on the table to transport visitors from parking lots in other parts of the city into downtown. The new vehicles, similar to golf carts except with more seats, will take three months for delivery after the manufacturer is given the green light.
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