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No more digging for coins; this is how parking should be.

image of ParkStAug signageThe days of fumbling for coins or hoping you have a dollar bill smooth enough to work in a parking pay station will soon come to an end when the ParkStAug mobile parking app debuts next week.

As part of his mobility update report scheduled for this coming Monday’s City Commission meeting, Reuben Franklin, the city’s Mobility Program Manager, will announce the availability of the city’s new mobile parking app called ParkStAug.

The app, available for free from both Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store starting on Monday, February 4, will allow users to pay for parking in all city managed parking locations without having to use a parking meter or pay station.

By using the ParkStAug app, users will be able to pay for parking with their phones, receive alerts before a parking session expires and extend a parking session without ever having to return to the vehicle. And, since the vehicle is identified by its license plate, those who use the app will no longer have to display a receipt on the vehicle’s dashboard.

How does it work?

The app works like others many people are familiar with when making transactions online. Once downloaded, the user enters information including a method of payment, such as a credit or debit card, the license plate number of the vehicle, and that’s it. In fact, users can set up the app at home before ever venturing into the downtown and seeking a parking location.

Once a vehicle is parked, the user simply opens the app, selects the zone where the vehicle is located designated on easily identified signage in the area, enters the desired amount of parking time, called a session, and with a quick click the user is on their way.

Then, when the session is about to expire, the user will receive an alert through the app and may then add time to the session if so desired. No need to skip dessert or cut shopping time short because of having to hurry back to the vehicle to “feed the meter.”

So, what changes?

Perhaps the most noticeable change is the removal of parking meters. Parking pay stations will remain and will be available for anyone not wishing to use the ParkStAug app. Eliminating parking meters, a fixture in the downtown for almost 75 years, will reduce sidewalk clutter making mobility easier for pedestrians, wheelchairs, and strollers.

What is not changing is the cost of parking or the hours of enforcement. Rates remain at $2.50 per hour with parking sessions limited to three hours for on-street spaces and four hours in parking lots. Parking will continue to be enforced Monday through Saturday from 8:00am until 5:00pm, except on Cathedral Pl. and King St. where enforcement does not begin until 10:00am and in the parking lot for the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument where parking is enforced on Sundays as well.

What about the ParkNow Card?

The ParkNow Card it will remain in effect for the foreseeable future, so keep using it. But when it’s time to re-load it, you may want to consider the ParkStAug app instead. It is also important to note that currently the only way to get the Resident Discount at the Historic Downtown Parking Facility, is by using ParkNow Card.

To qualify for the Resident Discount, St. Johns County residents need to visit the website, www.ParkStAug.com and register online with proof of residency. To do so you will need to have your vehicle registration and driver’s license handy so as to upload with your registration. Then once you are registered, the resident discount rates will be automatic when you pay to park using the app.

In response to many resident concerns about special circumstances, such as using a rental car, having out of town vehicles, or simply not wanting to use the mobile technology, the city will gladly review those in a case-by-case basis and find an acceptable and feasible solution to ensure every resident has access to the discount.

For more information

Frequently asked questions and instructions on how to access, download and use the parking app are available at a new web site at www.ParkStAug.com under the support tab. The help questions are extensive and are categorized under several heading, and questions may be submitted by simply typing it into the form. The site may be reached also through the city’s web site at www.CityStAug.com. Those who wish to speak to someone directly may call the city’s Parking Division at 904.825.1090, Monday through Friday between 8:00am and 5:00pm.

The mobility update report to the City Commission may be seen on Monday, January 28 live at GTV/Comcast channel 3 and at www.CityStAugTV.com where the meeting may be seen on-demand the day following the meeting. The meeting begins at 5:00pm in The Alcazar Room, City Hall, 75 King St. and is open to the public.