Destin officials: Pay parking lot doing well

The Destin Log

DESTIN — The pay-for-park pilot program at the Marler Street public parking lot has been running smoothly and will help the city pay for future parking improvements.

The pilot program began May 8 and was tested throughout the summer. It requires drivers pay $1 for the first hour and 50 cents for each additional hour.

Users can pay with the Passport Parking app on their smartphone, the app's website or by calling the number on the posted signs throughout the lot. The app will also notify patrons when they are running out of time and give them an option to extend it on their phone

“The program is still under review, but based on City Council’s direction, the pay-for-parking program will stay in place at the Marler Street parking lot,” said Doug Rainer, Destin's spokesman.

Since the program started, 2,930 transactions have been made by patrons, bringing in $6,452.50 to the city, Rainer said Friday.

Rainer said the City Council also is looking for ways to expand the pay-for-parking lots to other areas such as the Zebre Street lot.

“Right now, it’s a gravel lot. … We want to improve it and possibly make it into a pay parking lot,” he said. “We are also going to look at Crystal Beach location parking lots"

The parking is enforced by a city code enforcement official. Vehicles not in compliance receive a $30 ticket.

 “We get good reviews from patrons, and they like the fact that they can leave their cars there overnight if paid for,” Rainer said.

Locals are also taking advantage of the Marler Street parking lot when visiting the Harbor District.

Elizabeth Hunter said she has used the lot several times when visiting the harbor with her family and friends.

“It is way better than driving around in circles searching for a parking spot," she said. "That can take forever."

Hunter said she knows her car will be secure.

“Destin is already congested with traffic, which makes it hard to go out for a night of fun,” she said. “We need more paying parking lots like Marler.”