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Seawall parking is no longer free in Galveston

A waiver for parking fees on Galveston's seawall during Mardi Gras is debated by city council
July 28, 2013 3:52:00 AM PDT
Those looking for rest and relaxation found it at the Galveston Seawall on Saturday, but they first had maneuver through a new parking policy there.

Beach-goers were greeted by dozens of new signs that signal a change: Parking is no longer free.

"We saw the sign and we didn't want to get a fine, so we just whipped it up on the phone. It took about a minute," said Paul Williams, visiting from Colorado.

Of course, some are less than thrilled about the change.

"You can go have a cheap vacation because you can stay at the beach, so paying does kind of stink," Melody Meek said.

"I just feel like everyone's looking for ways to get their money," Kensey Phillips of Houston said.

Parking costs $1 an hour, and up to $8 for the entire day. For $25, visitors can buy an annual parking pass.

"I think they're going to make a lot of money, all the parking down here," said Tim Gaultney, who was visiting from Oklahoma City.

Unlike a lot of pay-to-park scenarios, you don't have to bring cash to park on the seawall. You pay on the phone, either by dialing the toll-free number or downloading the app on your smart phone

"We did it all by texting, typing it all in. Didn't have to call anyone," Williams said. "I mean if they're going to use the money to help the environment, I'm all for it."

Some have questioned the way police will be enforcing the paid parking -- scanning license plates with a plate reader that also calls up any outstanding warrants.

But even for law-abiding citizens, it's a change that will take some getting used to.

"Like today, we were like, 'where do we park? Try to find somewhere we don't have to pay for,'" Meek said.

"[Parking is] something that should be free, because nothing's ever free anymore," Phillips said. "Feel like they're always trying to get our money."

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