By: Diana Bello Aristizábal
Starting this month, a new parking system will be implemented in the city of Doral, which is part of an extensive program whose purpose is to increase the supply of public parking spaces and improve the quality of life of residents and visitors.
The new initiative will be divided into phases, with the Downtown Doral area being the first where this program will start on June 5th. In this way, drivers traveling from north to south from 54th Street to south of 52nd Street and from east to west from 79th Avenue to 87th Avenue will find Pay by Phone signs on the sidewalks, a payment system regulated by the Miami Parking Authority.
Locating the vehicle in said areas will cost $1.50 per hour for residents who register on the City of Doral website and $2.50 per hour for non-residents with a three-hour time limit. “Private parking lots that are available in Downtown can cost up to $5 with fines that can be very high,” Doral Vice Mayor, Rafael Pineyro, explains.
In this sense, before, those who were in this area had only two options: Drive around until finding an available space to park their vehicles, which during peak hours can take longer than necessary, or park in the nearby garages that have private management and usually charge high fees.
Where does this project come from, and what will be executed?
It must be said that this program entails several benefits: Restricting parking of unauthorized commercial vehicles in residential areas, creating vehicle rotation in order to allow everyone to enjoy the city, increasing security, and generating less fuel waste by reducing the time drivers spend circling their cars to find a space.
This project began to be developed in February 2021 after an ordinance was approved during a City Council that was amended in April 2023. “The purpose of said ordinance was to carry out a more detailed study of parking spaces in charge of the Public Works Department that covers the entire city in order to maximize the use of public parking lots and, therefore, meet the demands of that moment and of the future,” explains the Vice Mayor.
Is through this study that a parking deficit is indeed confirmed in addition to other problems that were causing discomfort to residents, such as the fact that some people who lived in the buildings around the area left their vehicles on the street for long periods of time, even up to a whole weekend, which limited access to parking spaces for the rest.
To reach this and other conclusions that were discovered in several studies, the city’s Public Works Department conducted various mechanisms such as an online survey, public workshops in which residents were invited to provide input, and meetings with stakeholders such as commercial business owners.
In addition, recently, on May 8th, a workshop was held in which a history timeline of the project was presented, questions and contact information from residents were received to address personal concerns later, and key points were discussed, such as the schedule exceptions that the Pay by Phone system will have and the situation with Downtown Doral Upper School.
Regarding the exceptions to the new collection system, it was concluded that during the drop-off and pick-up times for Downtown Doral Charter Elementary School students, this will not be enforced; that is, parents will be able to park their vehicles for free in said hours without being fined.
In addition, the City of Doral offers its residents restricted residential parking decals for designated neighborhoods for a value of $25 per year and $5 per day for a temporary visitor parking permit. This alternative is valid for a maximum of two vehicles per household, and those who wish to access this benefit must complete an online survey on the City of Doral website in the “Parking in Doral” section.
Regarding the situation with Downtown Doral Upper School, located at 7905 NW and 53rd Street, the problem is that some students drive their own vehicles to get to class, finding it difficult to park because there isn’t an exclusive parking lot for students within the school or in the surrounding area.
“This institution was conceived from its construction by the developer group as a “No Drive to School’ area. This is how there is currently no designated area for those who drive by their own means, which we know greatly concerns the community. However, the city doesn’t have any interference in this as it is in charge of a third party,” clarifies Rafael Pineyro.
He also adds that with the previous system, the students, like the rest of the residents, faced the dilemma of finding an available space. “Now they will have to pay, but there will be more vehicle turnover and, therefore, more opportunities to park in less time.”
The benefits of this program will be extended to other areas of the city in later phases, which dates have not yet been defined. The second phase will take place in the Doral Legacy Park area, that presents a similar problem to that identified in Downtown, while the following phases will cover the areas of Doral Academy Middle and High School and south of City Place (industrial zone).
Those who have questions or want to inquire about the Restricted Residential Parking Program for designated neighborhoods can send an email to email@example.com or call 305-938-0072.