By Jane Smith
Parking at Oceanfront Park and Harvey Oyer Jr. Park will become more expensive in some cases starting Oct. 1.
At Oceanfront Park, four meter kiosks will be added and in operation from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., Boynton Beach city commissioners decided Aug. 4. The kiosks will replace the beach tollbooth, which had been staffed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
The new fee will be $1.50 per hour, or about $10 for an average beach stay of 6.67 hours, Andrew Mack, Public Works director, said at the Aug. 4 meeting. The kiosks accept cash or credit cards.
The in-season fee and year-round weekend and holiday fee were a flat $10. The $5 fee for summer weekdays will no longer be offered.
Boynton Beach’s new beach parking rate is comparable to the hourly rate in Delray Beach. Lake Worth Beach, though, charges $3 per hour and Boca Raton charges $2 an hour on weekdays and $3 an hour on weekends, Mack said.
He said the kiosks will be installed in September and then go live on Oct. 1. Park rangers will enforce the parking times with a laptop that will check each vehicle, Mack said.
“The proposed revenues from daily parking fees will be $680,000 in the next financial year,” Mack told commissioners. “The current revenue is $320,000.
“The city will see an additional $50,000 from parking citations,” he said. Parking pass income will remain at $170,000.
Boynton Beach residents will still be able to buy a beach parking pass for $50. Ocean Ridge residents can buy a beach parking pass at the same rate. The cost for annual passes stayed the same after the mayor and vice mayor, at the July 21 commission meeting, objected to the residents’ paying more.
The city will no longer sell decals, starting Oct. 1. Instead, the system will be based on the vehicle license plate, Mack said.
During a July 29 Facebook live video, Mack said there should not be backups on State Road A1A to get into the park. Searching for a place is similar to searching for a space in a packed shopping center, he said.
“You ride around until you see someone leaving, then follow the person to the vehicle. Put on your blinker and allow that car to back out until you can pull in safely,” Mack said on the video.
The toll booth workers’ last day will be Sept. 30. They can apply to be park rangers. The two full-time and two part-time positions were advertised in late August, Mack said.
Hal Hutchins, Ocean Ridge police chief, said he had talked with the former Boynton Beach Recreation and Parks director about installing the kiosks about one year ago. Ocean Ridge patrols Oceanfront Park.
“The ParkMobile program is a common method of parking,” Hutchins said. “We don’t have too many times when Oceanfront Park needs to be closed because there are no more parking spaces. When that happens, we will work with Boynton Beach to close it down.”
At Harvey Oyer Jr. Park, on the Intracoastal Waterway, Boynton Beach will charge up to $10 on weekdays and $25 on weekends to park boat trailers in the long spaces. Ten shorter spaces will be free to park users, commissioners decided Aug. 4 after Susan Oyer, daughter of the late Harvey Oyer Jr., who served as mayor, told commissioners that residents’ taxes already paid for the park.
“Boaters take up extra space,” she said. “It’s wrong that families will pay a fee for parking there when they come to play or have picnics.”
Currently, boaters pay $50 for an annual boating decal that allows free parking on weekends and holidays. Without a decal, the fee is $10 on weekends and holidays. Boynton Beach does not charge for weekday parking at Oyer Park.
That will change in October, Mack said.
The city will charge any vehicle that uses the long spaces $1.50 per hour, payable at the two parking kiosks. The maximum daily charge is $10 and $25 on weekends. The rates are in effect 24 hours.
Boynton Beach will offer boat owners an annual parking pass at $350.
The city also will find free spaces for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers to use at Oyer Park. The volunteers offer free boat inspections and teach boating safety classes. Ú
By Jane Smith