When your job takes you down to the harbor, which mine has done for the past 30-plus years, you’ve got to have a place to park.
Over the years I have used parking lots up and down the harbor to park in order to walk down and talk to the fishermen and take photos of their catches in order to keep folks informed as to who is catching what and where.
But with all the hoopla over parking in certain lots, and charging up and down the harbor, I decided to give the city of Destin a try — that is the city-owned Marler Street Public Parking Lot on the corner of Marler Street and U.S. Highway 98, across the street from Brotula’s.
And much to my surprise, using the city's Passport Parking app to pay was much easier than anticipated.
I already had the app downloaded before arriving at the parking area, which has 146 parking spaces to choose from.
Once I picked out a spot near a tree, I opened the app and had to punch in the zone number of the lot as well as the parking space I was in. Then of course had to key in the amount of time I expected to be using the spot. Then came the credit card information.
All said and done it took less than five minutes to get keyed in and out the car door.
Then I made my way to the nearest crosswalk. From the time I got to the crosswalk and waited for the “blinking hand” to turn white and head down to the docks to the first boat at East Pass Marina, it took all of four minutes.
I was able to go about my business of recording catches and taking photos around East Pass as well as Fishing Fleet Marina, located directly behind Brotula’s.
Then I ventured down to HarborWalk Marina, that took all of three minutes.
Again I was able to take photos and do my job just fine.
Once you’re on the harbor, it’s easy to get from one area to the other. Just follow the boardwalk.
There were more than a couple of things I liked about the app. At anytime you can call it up and check how much time you have left. Plus it offers a spot where you can extend your time if needed.
When it gets down to three minutes left, it sets off a little alarm.
If you need a receipt for your time at the lot for business purposes, it offers an option for a receipt to be emailed to you.
But beware, the money is almost immediately taken out of the account you have locked in for payment.
All in all, a pretty good experience — if you have to pay.