If you've been avoiding learning the new parking system at the Beaches Town Center, you no longer have a choice. Paid parking enforcement began Wednesday morning, according to the city of Neptune Beach.
In October, Atlantic and Neptune beaches soft-launched a new paid parking program, but now, citations are being issued to violators.
Seven payment kiosks are set up in Neptune Beach, with two in Atlantic Beach. The first half-hour of parking is free; after that, the cost is $1 per half hour. The maximum daily fee is $12.
The machines do not give change and only accept $1, $5 or $10 bills. They do not accept coins.
Drivers enter their license plate number in the kiosk, and there's no need to display a receipt on the windshield.
Drivers can also pay via the Flowbird app. However, there is a 35 cent transaction fee on top of the cost of parking each time the app is used.
First-time nonpaying offenders will receive a courtesy notice. After that, offenders have to pay the $12 maximum daily fee by the end of the next business day. If citations aren’t paid on time, a $10 fee is added, and if they aren’t paid within 30 days they “will be submitted to the appropriate city government for enforcement and collection action,” according to the cities.
The two beaches communities took residents and area employees into account when developing what is still considered a pilot program.
Neptune Beach has allocated 35 spaces at the Beaches Town Center on Cherry, Walnut and Second streets for registered Neptune Beach residents to use at no charge. Atlantic Beach has a 50% discount for registered residents. Both cities' residents can register their vehicles at northbeachesparking.com.
And the Beaches Town Center Agency and Merchants Association have provided dedicated parking spaces for employees working in the Beaches Town Center.
Americans with Disability Act free parking is also available for up to four hours at a time.
Neptune Beach has also installed a charging station with two outlets for EV and plugin hybrid owners. The estimated cost to charge over a two-hour period, at 6.6 kilowatts per hour, is $3.30, according to Chargepoint, which runs the charging station at 150 2nd St.
The beach cities plan to evaluate the paid parking program over an 18- to 24-month period and then make any changes based on the data gathered.