WYNWOOD (CBSMiami) – Wynwood’s explosive job growth really is a double-edged sword.
“You’ve just tripled or quadrupled your parking demand,” Art Noriega, Miami Parking Authority Director told a group of concerned Wynwood business leaders.
Noriega was the star attraction at the weekly #wafflewednesday networking event which attracts a large crowd from the area’s growing tech sector.
LiveNinja CEO Will Weinraub says the increasing cost of street parking, and changing policy, has become a financial hardship for start-ups.
“Every single time I have to hire a new employee, I have to think of the meter cost,” he said.
Cruz Digital CEO Mario Cruz is worried the limited number of meter spaces that are available will be gone when art season hits.
“Come Art Walk, and come Art Basel, it’s going to get really bad here. We’re going to displace 300 employees who work in the tech start-ups,” he said.
The dozens who attended the event in the LiveNinja 3rd floor work space on NW 25th Street and 1st Avenue were looking for answers to the area’s increasingly expensive and very limited street parking situation.
“”I don’t need to buy three hours if I’m only going to be here two hours and twenty minutes,” said one business owner. “I’m probably the only one who took the trolley here and I had to walk from Midtown. It’s a real pain,” said another.
Documentary Producer Billy Corben also griped about complicated master meters that require users to enter their tag number.
“They’re annoying for a myriad of reasons,” he said before asking if anyone in the room even knew their exact license plate number.
Noriega told the group they are shifting from meters to virtual pay systems, like pay-by-phone.
“Ultimately, the equipment can be frustrating and a lot for us to maintain,” Noriega said.
Noriega announced that the city is doing away with the surcharge users pay when they use the pay-by-phone system. He told the group is should be gone in the next six months. There were also concerns raised about the safety of isolated streets on the edge of Wynwood where there is ample street parking. Some in the group referred to those areas as “sketchy.”
“Employees cars have gotten broken into, belongs were taken,” said Weinraub of LiveNinja. “We have some female employees who work to sometimes 8 or 9 o’clock, this directly affects them and how they feel leaving.”
Mario Cruz says his business has paid the $300.00 fee for special parking permits for his employees so they can park in a closer, safer location.
“There’s parking there, but I can’t let my employees park there because if something happened to them, I would feel responsible,” he said.
In the end, it would appear finding a solution to Wynwood’s parking problems is like the search for the perfect parking space.
“Clearly this area has evolved a lot in the last three or four years,” said Noriega. “Our parking plan is going to evolve with it.”
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