Much like Julius Caesar would dread the Ides of March, local drivers start grumbling at the Ides of May.
Parking permits and meter requirements went into effect on May 15 in local beach towns, in a seasonal event that runs until Sept. 15 each year in the towns of Fenwick Island, South Bethany, Bethany Beach and Dewey Beach.
During the paid parking season, almost everyone is required to have a permit or pay for parking in the towns, whether visitor, resident or property owner. Permit rules vary by town, street and permit type. Drivers can avoid tickets and fines by following the instructions on posted signage. Contact the town halls or websites for more information.
In Bethany Beach, Town Manager Cliff Graviet reported this week that, while the change from the off-season to the summer parking season has taken place, there are no changes in the Town's parking procedures or fees for 2018.
Pay-to-park requirements are effective every day from May 15 through Sept. 15, and all public parking is either pay-to-park or by resident or business permit. Payments or permits are required beginning at 10 a.m. daily, until 4 p.m., 8 p.m. or 11 p.m., depending on location and denoted by signs in each area.
The pay-to-park rate in Bethany Beach is currently $2 per hour, with a 50-cent transaction fee added to credit card purchases. Parking can be paid for at the Town's parking paystations via credit card or with quarters, with the resulting receipt required to be displayed on the vehicle's dashboard, showing the expiration time.
The few remaining old-style coin-operated parking meters still require payment with quarters for the desired amount of time. Coin change-makers are located at 99 Garfield, Garfield mid-100-block north and south sides, Garfield at N. Pennsylvania, Garfield at S. Pennsylvania, N. Pennsylvania at Central, the Ocean View Parkway beach lot, Campbell beach lot and Wellington Parkway beach lot.
Bethany Beach's paid parking can also be paid for by phone, using the Parkmobile app on a smartphone — the same app used in Rehoboth Beach and, starting this summer, in Ocean City, Md. — or by calling 1-877-727-5758. Motorists can find a parking zone number on the paystation near where they've parked, on single meters or on nearby signs, and they can then use Parkmobile to register their vehicle's license plate and description to connect their parking session payment to that car.
While Garfield Parkway has a two-hour parking limit, purchasing a new parking session at the paystation or via Parkmobile can extend that time beyond two hours.
Additionally, the Town offers one-day, three-day and seven-day parking permits at the police department that cover parking in pay-to-park spots (not on Garfield or in resident permit areas) for that length of time, for $27, $79 or $183, respectively.
East-west streets with “Residential Permits Required” signs are restricted to parking for vehicles displaying resident permits during hours as posted, and neither resident nor business permits are valid for pay-to-park spaces. Handicapped and service vehicles are not exempt from payment requirements.
Owners of improved properties in the town are entitled to one free residential parking permit and may purchase a second permit for $35 for each owned property. Owners of unimproved properties are entitled to one free residential permit only, regardless of the number of unimproved properties owned. Applications for residential parking permits are mailed annually to all property owners in March.
For more information on parking in Bethany Beach, call (302) 539-8940 or visit the Town website at townofbethanybeach.com.
The Bethany Beach Patrol will be on duty from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays, and on weekends in September from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Parking permits are required on all streets within the corporate limits of the Town of Fenwick Island from May 15 to Sept. 15. Parking permits are available daily at the Fenwick Island Police Department.
Later this summer, the Town will also install an automated parking kiosk outdoors near town hall, where people can purchase shorter-term passes.
Costs increased in April, to: $2.50 per hour (two-hour minimum); $20 per day; $120 per week; $400 per season; $200 for lost permit replacements; $400 for additional blue permits (limit of one). Permits are non-refundable.
Generally, permits are required starting at 9 a.m. See parking signage for details. Parking locations vary, based on permit type (resident or non-resident). For instance, blue permits are valid everywhere, but other permits cannot be used to park at beach street ends.
When picking up resident permits, property owners should bring a valid ID. Anybody picking up permits for another person must supply a letter from them indicating they are allowed to pick up the permit.
Handicapped-accessible parking is available, but still requires a paid permit. Special permits are also required for service vehicles, contractors, construction trailers, commercial trash containers and commercial utility vehicles.
Also, the Fenwick Island Beach Patrol is staffed on weekends and goes full-time on Memorial Day weekend.
For more information, Fenwick Island Town Hall can be reached at (302) 539-3011, www.fenwickisland.delaware.gov and at 800 Coastal Highway.
Parking permits are required May 15 to Sept. 15, where posted, throughout most of town. Permits can only be purchased in person at South Bethany Town Hall.
Costs increased this February. Daily passes cost $20 each. Property owners can purchase up to four seasonal permits for $20 each. Replacements cost $50 each, for any reason.
Generally, permits are required from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and again overnight. See signage for details.
There is no fee for contractors.
(The town council recently approved several updates to parking regulations that have not yet been implemented and will not be, until more research is done. They approved, but are still investigating, an online purchasing system, an automatic outdoor permit kiosk and an expansion of mandatory permit areas on the west side of Route 1.)
Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (5:30 p.m. on weekends), and the second and third weekends of September.
South Bethany Town Hall is available at (302) 539-3653, www.southbethany.org and at 402 Evergreen Road.
There are exceptions to the May 15-to-Sept. 15 timeline. Permits and meters are used widely throughout Dewey Beach. But parking is free on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 5 to 11 p.m. at permit and metered spaces.
Parking meters are available. Permits are not valid at parking meters. Other permit costs are: $10 per day (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday); $15 per day (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday); $35 per weekend; $55 per week; $200 per season; and $150 for property owners who have paid their town beach replenishment tax (limit of two).
Weeklong, weekend and daily permits are available for purchase 24/7 at the kiosk in front of the town hall parking lot. Seasonal permits are available in person during business hours at Town Hall.
Dewey Beach Town Hall is available at (302) 227-6363, www.townofdeweybeach.com and at 105 Rodney Avenue.
By Laura Walter and M. Patricia Titus