Lewes’ parking meter season is set to begin at 9 a.m., Saturday, May 1.
Unlike last summer, free morning parking will not be offered in the downtown area. Mayor and city council had eliminated morning metered parking hours last year to encourage people to patronize struggling small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. In consultation with the business community, officials determined free parking, although appreciated, did not have a large impact.
Downtown parking remains at $1 per hour, with meter hours running from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Parking is limited to three hours in regularly designated parking spaces. Other time limits are clearly marked with signs.
New this year will be public parking in the M&T Bank parking lot at the corner of Market and Third streets. A total of 10 spaces will be available at all times, while the bank’s 17 spaces will be open to the public during non-banking hours. Work has not yet begun to crack seal and repaint the lot, but Mayor Ted Becker said the lot should be available sometime in May. New signage will be posted to clearly state where parking is allowed.
“The city is appreciative of M&T’s cooperation and their support of the downtown businesses in the effort to expand available parking,” Becker said.
There is free downtown parking in the lots at the corner of Franklin and Schley avenues, Otis Smith Park off Savannah Road, Lewes Little League from July to March and at the trailhead near the Lewes Public Library. There are electric vehicle charging stations in the Schley Avenue and Otis Smith parking lots.
The city has created an interactive map on its website that tells visitors where parking is free or paid as well as the rates and hours of operation.
Parking at the city’s two beach lots will be $2 per hour, with hours running from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Parking is limited to 11 hours.
Parking Supervisor Dennis Crawford said all lots are head-in parking only. One common mistake visitors make when inputting their license plate into the kiosk or in the ParkMobile app is not including letters such as PC with numbers. The state often issues more than one license plate with the same number, one including letters, so it’s important that all letters and numbers are included, Crawford said.
Mayor and city council also authorized the hiring of additional parking enforcement officers for the 2021 season to monitor the residential streets off Cedar Street as well as the Roosevelt Inlet parking lot. One enforcement focus, Crawford said, will be parking within 30 feet of a stop sign and within 50 feet of a stop sign on an emergency-access street. His crew will also try to ensure driveways are not blocked, cones or other impediments are not placed to prevent parking, and cars are not parked in other restricted areas. At Roosevelt Inlet, he said, cars will be ticketed for parking near the concrete barriers along the left side as cars enter the lot.
Additional parking information, including the interactive map, can be found at ci.lewes.de.us/324/Parking.