Naples will poll businesses and hotels Monday about the pilot program that prioritizes residents over visitors for beach parking.
Things have gotten much easier for Naples residents, but they may have become harder on local businesses. In December 2020, Naples designated 363 parking spots as “resident only,” leaving just 676 pay-to-park spots for visitors. It also increased the price of those visitor spots by 50 cents per hour.
While this makes things more convenient for residents who want easy access to the beach, local business owners aren’t exactly happy with the move.
“I think for the businesses, it’s a struggle for them because you want more parking; we’re already struggling now,” said Alex Herwig, who runs Gulfshore Apothecary across from paid parking at Lowdermilk Beach. “As business locations in Naples, parking is already a problem. A lot of these businesses only have four, five, six, seven, eight spots. If you take those away, it’s limiting the ability people have to access your business, you know, the foot traffic.”
Even residents getting fast-tracked to the sand have a few things to say about the new program.
“Yeah, I think it’s kind of silly that they put [the residency tags] on the front of the car because the guy has to park and get out and walk and look,” said Bill Evans, Naples resident since 1981. “If they put it on the back of the cars, he could just drive through.”
Naples has made $363,000 off the increase in the hourly rate for those pay-to-park spots. There has been no study done on how much money may have been lost by local businesses because of the move to more exclusive parking.