Parking meter season ends in Myrtle Beach - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Parking meter season ends in Myrtle Beach

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - As the temperatures begin to cool, even slightly, there's some good news for residents in the Grand Strand. The parking meter season is over.

Thursday, March 1 marked the official start to what the City of Myrtle Beach calls "parking season," bringing an end to free parking downtown, and the return of parking meters.

But on Sept. 30, that parking season ended, and parking downtown is again free.

When businesses in the downtown Myrtle Beach area were preparing for warmer weather, and increased tourist travel, they were trying to take advantage of free parking in the area for as long as they possibly could.

"It's very inconvenient and costly," said Tammy Klein as she helped set up the Sheraton Broadway Plantation's information center near Ocean Boulevard. "We'll have people coming in constantly looking for change for the meters."

Between March 1 and Sept. 30, no cars were allowed to park in the far lanes of Ocean Boulevard, and parking meters and lots throughout the downtown area will be activated, requiring people to feed the meter to park their cars.

Some tourists say fear of finding a parking ticket on their windshield actually keeps them from spending too much time downtown, and spend their time and money in other areas where they can park for free.

"We're probably going to stay down here longer today," said Erica Childress, who was visiting from North Carolina during the parking season. "We don't have to pay, so we're not going to constantly worry about the meter."

While people say paying the meters was annoying, the competition for parking spaces was a good sign of bigger crowds by the beach, and it can bring in money for the city as well.

In 2011, the City of Myrtle Beach and the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation made a profit of $200,000 from meters during the parking season.

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