Saturday, October 20, 2018

Tourists staying away from Miami Beach in droves - one the reasons why

This Saturday, I decided to eat at Lincoln Road. I know most locals think of eateries there as expensive tourist traps of questionable quality, but there are a few good places, such as Cafe Nexxt, where my wife and I planned to have an inexpensive, honest and nourishing lunch.

So we drove to the nearest South Beach  parking lot, the large public parking across from City Hall in 17th Street. Until recently, the rate was US$ 1.00 an hour. They boosted it up to US$ 2.00 an hour a few months ago. Still not bad, considering there are places that charge as much as US$50 for all day parking. When we got there, although the lit sign said OPEN, there were two orange cones blocking the entrance.

I found that peculiar, because the city has been quite empty the last few weeks. The other day I found parking in the 7th Street Lot without any problems, in one of the first levels, on a weekend, too.

The 17th Street lot has two peculiarities. Tons of spaces are taken up by City Government vehicles. Not too sure that there is no other place for city vehicles to be parked by the dozen, they certainly might be more inconvenient for city workers. The fact is, dozen of places are taken up by them every day, not bad when the city is empty, very annoying when it is full.

The other peculiarity is that elevators are often not working. Al least the ones facing Lincoln Road. Wonder if the ones facing town hall are out of order - the only time I try to use them because the ones  facing Lincoln Road were all broken, they worked fine. Just a coincidence, I reckon...

So it seems that the lot is managed not for tourist and resident convenience, rather, for city workers' convenience. 

As there was no one around to explain the orange cones, I decided to park in the New Symphony Parking Lot, which is just across from the street, and have used in the past. Tons of spaces. No problem.

When I came back, after a two-hour lunch, problem, BIG PROBLEM. I found out that the rate for that day was a flat US$ 15.00...Then I found out the information posted in a barely legible and small sign, with a very light green background and white letters. Anybody that knows a little bit about graphics, will come to the conclusion that the signage was designed with  the intent not to be seen, specially under the sun. Red colors or a darker background, plus a better position would ensure the prospective client was better informed.
New World Symphony - Public Parking with a difference

So, my inexpensive lunch suddenly became US$ 11.00 more expensive.

Parking woes in Miami Beach, involving private tow companies Beach Towing and Tremont Towing are reported by the hundreds. However, when the city government seems to be playing numbers games with parking figures and signs, you realize that tourists might be getting tired of getting the shaft from a city that is treating tourists (and residents) badly.

Incidentally, there was no major event in Miami Beach at all to warrant such "Flat Rate" all day, and Lincoln Road was quite empty. So that a huge convention center might not be the answer, after all.