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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Parking nightmares

I had a terrible time with parking in downtown Miami over the weekend. The Miami Parking Authority (MPA) and American Car Parks both should be ashamed of themselves. I missed the Kids King Mango Strut due to the MPA's incompetence and that's a shame since I got there almost 45 minutes early. What should have taken two minutes, took 45 minutes. The main thing here is that I wanted to pay, but I couldn't.

I usually park in a paid lot downtown, but a friend who was with me suggested we park at the meters. Bad decision. It took us forever to try and pay and never ended up doing so. It's almost impossible to navigate the system. You would think they want their $3.00 per hour (minimum two hours) for street parking.

None of the MPA parking meters in the vicinity worked, there were lines of people at three of four meters, trying to pay, up to 7 people at a time, all commiserating on what to do next; it was a rainy, overcast day, luckily it wasn't raining at that moment.

The meters did not take bills, they did not take coins, they did not take credit cards. No one remembered their license plate numbers, and since that is required to pay to park, it held up the line even more as people ran to their cars to check the plate.

I finally decided to call in the pay by phone system after half an hour, only I had a guy on the phone who did not know what he was doing. He insisted that he had nothing to do with the MPA parking meters and yet his number was on the meter. I told him that this is how I knew who to call. Finally, when he realized that he is with the MPA, he took my credit card info and tried to help, this took about 15 minutes, but after all that time, he told me he could not do it from his end, so this stranger now has my American Express card number and info and I didn't get any paid parking.

The pay by phone did not work. By this time, the Kids Mango Strut Parade at the Book Fair was over. The whole time, we could see the Book Fair down the block.

As we were having trouble at the meters, people were saying things like, "This is Miami, what do you expect?" This is how people think of the city we live in and they are used to it and accept it? How sad is that?

After dealing with the guy on the phone and trying to pay the meters, we gave up and went into the private lot across the street, which was my original plan. The lot is run by American Car Park, who have crooks working for them. The lot is at Biscayne Blvd. and NE 3rd Street.

Even though there are signs saying that parking is $10.00 and a guy is even waving signs, I didn't see them at first, so I pulled into the lot and asked the girl how much. She said $20.00. I told her that was too much. She then suggested, "How about $10.00?" to which I accepted.

After I handed her the $10.00 and left, that is when  I noticed all these signs. So this girl in the lot is now scamming people and keeping all the extra money she can get.

The Downtown Development Agency, the City of Miami and others need to get with the MPA and fast and ask them why they are so incompetent. Even in the Grove, when I try to park at a meter, there's always lost money and drama. I almost always park at one of the surface lots, which are actually cheaper than the meters, and there is no trouble. With the meters, there is always trouble.

Any day in Coconut Grove, you can pass a meter and there is someone there scratching their heads. I always am tempted to say something or try to help, but what can I do or say? I don't have a clue myself. Something as simple as meter parking is non-existent. Is this possible?

So many of the meters in the midtown area are old and unreadable. The sun glares down on the scratched screens and when you try to pay, you cannot even see the digital display because of the sun and the scratches. This has happened many times. I've lost money in them and just drove off in frustration.

And another thing, the MPA pay per phone system keeps telling you by robot as you make the call, that you get a 20% discount for using that service, you put your city of Miami zip code in and this supposedly happens, only I was being told by the robo person on the other end that extra money was being charged, I think 25 cents, to use the service because they also tag on a little fee for convenience. Convenience? I think throwing a few coins in the meter is convenient, not spending half an hour on the phone trying to pay and then getting charged for the privilege. Crooks? I say yes.

I think the City needs to rid itself of the MPA, put real meters back in at each parking space and maybe make some sort of app where you can pay for the meters with a QR code or UPC symbol or something; maybe have it linked to your credit card and one swipe and you're done.

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The people that work for the MPA have passes, so they don't have to deal with the situation they created. Take away their passes and the passes of our city officials and let them try to park in Miami. The problem will get solved!

November 26, 2013 5:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I use the pay by phone app for the iphone. Made my life 1000% easier

November 26, 2013 6:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every inconvenience and issue you've mentioned is a profit for the MPA. Why would they want to fix the problems if it makes them more money?
I still don't understand why I am required to present my ID to be allowed to pay to park.

November 26, 2013 7:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there's no profit if we can't park.

November 26, 2013 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do we have to pay to park in the first place.whats next are they going to charge us for the air we breath also.this country has gone to shit.

November 26, 2013 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Marc said...

If you notice, the pay machines are all under trees, so the solar panel is in the shade.

Nice for the guy digging the foundation, but defeats the purpose of the solar panel...


November 26, 2013 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Meow mix said...

I hope you notified American Car Park that one of their employees was attempting to scam people!

November 26, 2013 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"maybe make some sort of app where you can pay for the meters with a QR code or UPC symbol or something; maybe have it linked to your credit card and one swipe and you're done."

The PayByPhone app works wonderfully

November 26, 2013 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, I hate to say it, but if you were so oblivious as to ask a person standing next to huge, bright red sign, with the price on it, how much it was to park, you deserved to pay $20.

C'mon man.

November 26, 2013 3:33 PM  
Blogger Grapevine said...

I was nowhere near this sign or the entrance with the sign. It was at the other end. Where I entered there was no sign.

November 26, 2013 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Coconut Grove, they got rid of the meters when the merchants hired the Parking Fairy. Then they got rid of the ticket system when people started giving their extra time on their tickets to each other. It all sucks!

November 26, 2013 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miami's new systems in their many flavors and configurations are inconvenient, time consuming and a pain, on top of that try to buy tickets at night, the panels are not lit, they are impossible. MPA's only function is to increase revenues by any means necessary that is why they are Miami politicians' sweethearts. I miss the old fashioned meters used all around the world, Coral Gables has upgraded theirs to take credit cards. I suppose only Miami must go backward by design.

November 26, 2013 4:26 PM  

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