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Parking Situation in Downtown Lakeland

In downtown Lakeland, visitors currently have the option to park for free for two hours if they are fortunate enough to find a spot on the street. According to Nikki Hunt, owner of Scout and Tag, this free two-hour parking enables her customers to have better access to her store, which in turn benefits her business. However, there is a proposed idea to eliminate this free parking option and instead charge people up to $2 an hour to park on the street.

Reactions from Business Owners

Several business owners, including Jack McHugh and Tim Calhoon, are concerned about the potential impact of the proposed paid parking on their businesses. McHugh believes that free parking is more welcoming for people to visit downtown, while Calhoon acknowledges that it may pose a challenge for those who are not used to paying for parking. These concerns were further highlighted during a meeting with nearly two dozen other business owners and the head of the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority.

Recommendation and Potential Benefits

The idea to implement paid on-street parking was mentioned at a recent city workshop, and it was backed by a study that found on-street parking to be over capacity during peak times. The official who recommended the $2/hour change believes that paid parking might incentivize people to turn over their spots quicker. Additionally, it is seen as a way to address the supply and demand issue related to parking in downtown Lakeland.

Role of AI legalese decoder

The AI legalese decoder can help in this situation by analyzing and deciphering any legal or regulatory language associated with the implementation of paid parking in downtown Lakeland. It can assist business owners and city officials in understanding the potential implications of such a change and provide guidance on any legal requirements or considerations that need to be addressed.

Future Plans and Improvements

While the city commission has not voted on the recommendation and there is no plan to schedule a vote, there are ongoing efforts to improve the parking experience in downtown Lakeland. New signage is being implemented for parking garages and open lots, and the city is also introducing a free shuttle service called the Squeeze. Signalization to inform downtown guests about available parking spaces is also being incorporated. Lakeland City Commissioner Stephanie Madden has indicated that the city will only consider the advice from the parking study regarding on-street parking prices and increments after these improvements are in place.

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