New parking payment methods in Bethany


Well, let’s kick this thing off by welcoming all our visitors back to town. We think you’ll find many of your old favorite dining and shopping spots just as you remember them, some new locales that are sure to please and your favorite weekly newspaper in high gear for the summer season.

Sorry. We couldn’t help that one.

One thing that is different this year is the parking system in downtown Bethany Beach. The town experimented in some parts of town last year with paystation parking, and has expanded that to the Garfield Parkway area this summer. You’ll notice that the meters are no longer there, but that doesn’t mean that parking turned free. The new system, like most systems when first implemented, started out with a few bugs.

There wasn’t that traditional visual alarm that paid parking is back in effect by the simple appearance of the heads being put back on the meter poles. In fact, there are no poles at all, as the town is getting ready for a dramatic Streetscape project that will eliminate poles and utility lines from sight. There also weren’t many signs when the new parking methods first went into effect, causing many people to return to their cars to find parking tickets on their windshields.

To their credit, the town has began posting signs throughout the downtown area advising drivers of the new method to pay for their parking, and has been largely understanding to those who might not have been clear about what to do.

“We have voided a lot of tickets this week,” said Bethany Beach Town Manager Cliff Graviet.

In addition, Graviet said the town has been putting warning notices on many cars in violation of the town’s parking laws, as opposed to tickets, and they will continue to do so for a time until people get used to the changes. It’s not an impossible situation, however, to see how to pay for parking downtown.

“Nine thousand people since last Saturday have managed to find paystations and buy paystation stubs,” said Graviet.

So, yeah, there are more signs out now, and people seem to be finding a way to pay for their spots. Though the town is being somewhat understanding, it would probably behoove everybody to just go ahead and pay for that parking spot.

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One sure way to get into the summer spirit is to enjoy the shows at the Bethany Beach Boardwalk Bandstand, particularly over Memorial Day weekend. The United States Naval Academy’s premier pop music ensemble group, Electric Brigade, will appear on Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. The United States Army Volunteers out of Fort Meade will perform Sunday at 7:30 p.m. And there will be a Memorial Day service on Monday at 11 a.m.

Down Route 1 and west on Route 54, you can find the Freeman Stage in the Bayside development. Their stage will also focus on Memorial Day with a St. Arts & Stripes performance with Zany Umbrella Circus on Saturday, from noon to 3 p.m.

On Sunday, May 29, from noon to 9 p.m., American Legion Post 28 in Oak Orchard will host the 6th Annual Concert for a Random Soldier. There will be free admission, with live music, food and a car show.