The cost to park at Milford beaches this beach season is going from $15 to $20 for out-of-towners, and kiosks will be placed on city streets near Walnut Beach requiring non-Milford residents to pay $2.50 an hour to park.
Milford’s Board of Aldermen approved the new parking measures April 1. According to the updated city ordinance, the fees apply from the Saturday before Memorial Day to and including Labor Day, during beach hours.
Residents with a Milford resident sticker on their car do not have to pay.
Traffic Sgt. Jay Kranyak said there will be six to seven kiosks on East Broadway near Walnut Beach, and one or two on Viscount Drive, where people will pay $2.50 per hour to park. The kiosks will accept credit cards, debit cards and coins.
Kiosks at the entry to Walnut Beach and at Gulf Beach will require non-residents to pay $20 to park. In the past there has been a person who takes the entry fee during beach season at Walnut Beach.
Kranyak believes the kiosk will replace the attendant.
“That’s kind of the idea,” Kranyak said. “There may be a person there for a short time until people get used to it.”
The Gulf Beach kiosk will be in the lot across from the beach.
Non-residents can also buy a seasonal parking sticker for $150 at the police station.
Regular police patrols will enforce the beach parking, ticketing cars that are in violation. Kranyak said software will allow officers to check and see if someone has not paid, or not paid enough to park.
Today, there are signs posted near Walnut Beach that identify areas as mostly two-hour parking. Kranyak isn’t sure if those signs will remain.
All the details haven’t been discussed yet, but he believes the fine will be $30 for non-compliance.
The kiosks are expected to be in place by the start of beach season on Memorial Day.
In 2016, Milford’s Board of Aldermen raised the fee from $5 to $15 for non-residents to park at Gulf and Walnut beaches to put Milford more in line with other beach communities. At that time city officials said other beach communities were charging up to $20.
The city’s Park, Beach and Recreation Department looked at other communities, like Stratford and Fairfield, “all up and down the shoreline,” Mayor Ben Blake said at the time.
“Milford charges far and away the lowest,” he said.
At the April 1 Board of Aldermen’s meeting, Alderman Frank Smith said $20 “is consistent with other municipalities.”
Recreation Director Paul Piscitelli said the fees were increased to be comparable to surrounding cities and towns, and the kiosks introduced for convenience.
“The kiosk system is to improve the efficiency and enforcement of the beach parking regulations and to accept credit cards for payment,” Piscitelli said.
Milford beaches have become more popular in recent years due to improvements to the boardwalk at Silver Sands and Walnut Beach, and the economic development in the Walnut Beach/Naugatuck Avenue corridor.
“And the Walnut Beach concerts and other events have made Walnut Beach a very popular destination,” Piscitelli said. “Additionally, the sand replenishment and other amenities at Gulf Beach have made that location also a very desirable location.”
The revenue from beach parking goes into the city’s general fund. Last season, the revenue was $62,000, Piscitelli said.
Resident parking stickers for 2019 are available at the city tax collector’s office. To get a sticker residents have to bring their current motor vehicle registration, and their taxes must be paid up to date. The stickers are also available by mail. The mail-in form can be found at ci.milford.ct.us/tax-collector/pages/resident-parking-stickers.