St.Pete residents upset with new parking meter changes

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – St. Petersburg parking meters are having a rough go around lately. First from vandals and now from residents upset with the city’s new parking changes.

Late on weeknights and on weekends, you have to remember to feed the meter. The city says these changes will make all downtown meters consistent, but it’s not a popular move for many.

Downtown St. Pete is quickly attracting residents and visitors.

“I think it’s beautiful. They have amazing restaurants here and just you know, it’s a place to hang out,” says Ekaterina Artemyava who likes to visit from Tampa.

On the weekends and late on weeknights the Universal Village area continues to see growth that is expanding onto street parking and getting a lot of attention.

“It’s been in the news a lot… We had some parking vandals just arrested, so parking kind of at the forefront right now,” says Benjamin Kirby with the City of St. Pete.

Police arrested Nicholas Windholz and Kiersten Lyons saying they sprayed foam sealant into nearly 75 parking meters. Windholz is still locked up, but Lyons has since bonded out.

8 On Your Side went looking for answers as to why the attack to dozens of meters. Lyons had nothing to say.

While residents may not agree with their methods they don’t like the new changes. Free parking on weekends is gone as the meters require payment seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. There are the results of a 2016 parking study that originally called for paid parking until midnight.

“Sure, do citizens like coming downtown and paying money to park downtown? Not everyone is going to like that,” says Kirby.

“I’d like it to be gone when the season’s over. So in the summer when the locals are here maybe get rid of it for the weekends,” says St. Pete Resident Kelli Quincel.

There is a grace period for the meters during the month of November. On Dec. 1 any parking meter tickets will cost you.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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