Courthouse parking, sidewalk dining, city approves both - A bus driving down a busy street - Duval Street

Parking pay stations are coming to the formerly free-in-the-evening spaces at the courthouse complex and adjacent 500 block of Thomas Street.

The Key West City Commission voted Dec. 3 to add metered parking to those areas.

But the news isn’t all bad for Key West and Lower Keys residents who hold one of four different residential or employee parking permits. In deciding to make those areas paid parking lots, commissioners also decided to add the courthouse parking spaces to the areas that can be used by residents for up to four free hours per day. City residents who pay $20 a year for a residential permit may now park for free for four hours a day in the parking lots at the courthouse, the Angela Street fire station, the Key West Bight, Truman Waterfront and the Park’n’Ride garage.

The courthouse parking is also available to employee parking permit holders and to Lower Keys residential permit holders up to Mile Marker 33, parking director John Wilkins said.

“The vote to add the courthouse parking to the residential permit system was only the first of two required public readings, so these decisions won’t be finalized for another month or so, even though I don’t anticipate any increased opposition between now and then,” Wilkins told Keys Weekly on Dec. 4.

He added that the city will need a month or so to install signs and pay kiosks, so nothing will change overnight.

After parking came dining, and commissioners voted to allow restaurants to set up sidewalk dining in front of their business, provided certain conditions are met.

City Manager Greg Veliz proposed the measure as part of the ongoing discussions about revitalizing Duval Street, although the sidewalk dining is not limited to Duval Street.

Participating restaurants will have to submit an application and specify their planned table layout to demonstrate that ample space will remain available for pedestrians to continue accessing the sidewalk.

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