High cost of parking near City Hall, federal courthouse causes concern

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville’s downtown is undergoing some changes with new development, but there is one problem that’s going to get worse as the city’s core grows — parking.

The price to park at one city garage located near Jacksonville City Hall and the federal courthouse for just a few hours is causing major headaches and a pain in the wallet for some.

Nancy Powell attends a lot of city meetings downtown. When she left a meeting last Friday and went to her parked car at the city garage at the Ed Ball Building downtown, she got something she never expected.

“When I exited the garage, I was just shocked at the price tag, which was $53 for a four-hour meeting,” Powell told News4JAX. “It was a surprise and I will not park there again.”

That’s right, $53 just for parking in the city-owned garage for four hours. It’s not a mistake and it’s something the city has been charging at the garage for about a year and a half. Meanwhile, a few blocks away at the Main Jacksonville Public Library, daily parking is $10.

So why is the Ed Ball building parking so expensive?

No one from the city would talk on camera, to explain, but here is what we learned.

The garage has a long waiting list of employees who pay a monthly rate to park, which is only about $100 a month plus tax. In the past, the city had problems with employees as well as lawyers and others who would pay a lower daily rate of about $10 a day so they decided to up the daily amount.

They do have some daily spots set aside for those who do quick business downtown and the rates are much cheaper. For example, a half-hour only costs a dollar.

The sign that has it posted about parking rates is not always easy to see and the reasoning behind the high rate is not really clear.

“There could be a potential for clarifying it through signage and education and other things in order to make it more understandable. And so people know where to park,” Powell said.

Others have similar complaints about downtown parking. News4JAX asked Emily Wiggins what she thinks about parking downtown.

“It’s expensive,” Wiggins said.

There are meters that are much more reasonable and a new app that lets you pay online and feed them if you need more time but Powell said that doesn’t always work.

So the gist of all this is it pays to shop around, or at least in this case, drive around because you can find different rates even at the city garages.

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