Making Downtown Street Parking Free

Parking in downtown Pensacola is a mess. The ever-changing fees, confusing rules, and broken meters frustrate visitors and hurt our small businesses.

We’re going to clean it up.

It’s time to send the message that downtown Pensacola is open for business. As mayor, I’ll work with the city council to take control of parking away from the Downtown Improvement Board and make on-street parking free. Simplifying our downtown parking system by making street parking free will make it easier for everyone to do business in downtown Pensacola and enjoy our incredible shops, dining, museums, and more.

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PUBLIC PARKING SPACES DOWNTOWN
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PRIVATE PARKING SPACES DOWNTOWN

Under my plan, parking fees would be eliminated for all on-street parking spaces downtown, but high-demand spaces would still be time-managed — essentially expanding the system that is currently used for parking on Palafox Street. Fees would still be collected for public parking garages like the Jefferson Street Garage, which require ongoing maintenance. Parking enforcement would be handled by the Pensacola Police Department using police cadets, as was the case before the DIB took over parking management in 2008.

The vast majority of the money the DIB currently takes in from paid parking goes right back out to pay for expensive enforcement contracts and paystations. Shockingly little of the money is used for actual needs. It’s time to streamline this unnecessary bureaucracy, place control of back in the hands of the people’s elected representatives, and make things easier for those visiting downtown Pensacola.

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As mayor, I’ll also work with Escambia County and the private sector to open up nearly 1,000 parking spaces at underused parking garages, including the taxpayer-owned Intendencia Street and Judicial Center garages, which remain largely empty on evenings and weekends. We’ll also replace downtown Pensacola’s patchwork of mismatched signage with a clear, unified wayfinding system to make it easy for visitors to locate available parking.

We also need to make it easier to enjoy downtown Pensacola without a car. That’s why we’ll also be implementing a downtown bike share program, along with new bike lanes, bike racks, and pedestrian improvements. Read more about Drew’s plan for bike and pedestrian infrastructure.