Town of Palm Beach News

Worth Avenue Valet Program Analyzed

Palm Beach’s new valet parking program on Worth Avenue is helping lessen traffic congestion, but it’s not clear whether it is opening more spots for shoppers, as first reported by the Palm Beach Daily News.

The Town Council reached that consensus after Worth Avenue Association member Daren Rubenfeld and town Zoning Director Josh Martin gave an update on the program, currently in use on the south side of the 200 block, on Thursday.

In November, the town council unanimously approved the valet test, hoping to ease parking and traffic problems along Worth Avenue. Rubenfeld and Martin are required to give monthly updates until April, when the program is scheduled to end. However, if the program is deemed successful, it could continue indefinitely.

“It’s clearly going very well; I just can’t tell if it’s freeing up space for people who are going to be giving to retail,” said Councilwoman Margaret Zeidman. “It may just be at this point opening spaces so that more employees have more places to park.”

Valet parking on Worth Avenue operates from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It costs $5 an hour, with a maximum charge of $25. Rubenfeld, a lawyer who helped propose the program, said it began gaining regular users around Dec. 20, 10 days after it opened.

The program saw a surge during the holidays, increasing from 11 to 13 cars a day to a peak of about 50 cars a day during the last week of December. The program maintained averages of 30 to 40 cars a day during the first week of January, and then stabilized at 20 cars a week during the rest of the month.

Worth Avenue Valet Program Analyzed

Rubenfeld said the association has determine that peak valet times are between noon and 2 p.m., and that the average stay is two hours.

Rubenfeld described seeing an “overwhelming positive response” from users of the valet program, more than two-thirds of whom are town residents. The association is considering advertising and providing coupons to attract more visitors, according to Rubenfeld.

“What we really want is to alleviate some of the parking problems on the Avenue,” Rubenfeld said.

A few town council members brought up concerns that employees are taking free street parking as a result of not receiving discounts for parking lots. Town Manager Kirk Blouin said employees are known to park in a street spot for the two-hour time limit, then move to another spot, but that this is not in violation of the current parking ordinance.

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“I feel that employers should be the primary enforcement of employees taking their customer spots on the Avenue,” said Councilwoman Bobbie Lindsay.

Rubenfeld said that the owners of the Peruvian Avenue lot offer Worth Avenue employees discounts upon request. The discount would cut the cost from $8 a day to $6 a day.

“There is a whole phase that will take place after season, where we can evaluate what (valet parking) has done to help the problem and what we can do to help it further,” he said.

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Alanna Barrett

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