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AM, HB officials take paid parking to next level

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

Daniel Honyotski, right, of PSx Parking Solutions in Tampa, gives a presentation on how a PSx paid-parking machine operates at the Aug. 20 Coalition of Barrier Island Elected Officials meeting in Anna Maria. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

Any idea floating among island and mainland residents that the mayors in Anna Maria and Holmes Beach are simply talking about — not acting — on paid parking appeared to be put to rest at the Aug. 20 meeting of the Coalition of Barrier Island Elected Officials.

Officials at the meeting heard a presentation from Daniel Honyotski, regional manager for PSx Parking Solutions, on how the company designs a paid-parking plan for a city. His company provides equipment that accommodates 100 parking spaces.

The newest PSx operation is in Madeira Beach in Pinellas County, he said.

The machines accept coins, bills and credit cards and users determine the amount of time they want to purchase, he said.

Honyotski said he’s installed machines for 100-space parking lots and one as small as eight spaces.

The machines cost $8,491 plus an $800 installation fee. In addition, the company charges a fee of $55 per month for solar power equipment and services, including processing and information about usage.

But the return on investment is quick. Madeira Beach recovered its investment in about a month, he said. Most cities take about a month-and-a-half to recoup the investment.

“It’s totally programmable for minimum and maximum amount of time to purchase and we provide 24/7 support,” Honyotski said. The company also trains a city staff member for routine maintenance and operation.

He estimated one machine handling a 30-space parking area would recover its cost in about 45 days. “Thirty spaces per meter is our basic rule.”

Holmes Beach Mayor Carmel Monti, who invited Honyotski to the meeting, was impressed. “In one-and-a-half months, the machines could pay back the cost. That’s incredible,” Monti said.

Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn also was intrigued. She said Anna Maria has been providing free parking to day visitors for too long, and the city gets nothing in return but litter and damaged swales.

“I don’t know what to do with the day visitors,” she said.

“Paid parking is simple and a revenue source, but where do we put it?” she wondered. “If parking is free in one place, and costs in another, people will go where it’s free.”

She added that if paid parking is done it would be “in the best interests of the residents.”

Monti said he’s had discussions with county administrator Ed Hunzeker about paid parking at Manatee Public Beach. He said Hunzeker would like to have the island cities “on board” with the proposal, and Anna Maria could ask for paid parking at Bayfront Park.

“What the county wants is a consensus from us,” Monti said.

“Hunzeker is open-minded. If we go in unified, we have a good chance of getting concessions from the county for paid parking,” he said.

SueLynn said she has several areas for paid parking locations where the PSx machines would work.

Bradenton Beach Mayor John Shaughnessy said his parking problems are different from those in Anna Maria and Holmes Beach because both Cortez Beach and Coquina Beach have a large number of parking spaces.

His concern is with parking along Bridge Street and at the Historic Bridge Street Pier.

Monti and SueLynn said they would discuss PSx and its proposal with their respective city commissions.

In other business, Holmes Beach Commissioner Jean Peelen reported that she and SueLynn now are members of the Florida League of Cities Policy Committee.

The committee plans to ask the 2014 Florida Legislature for changes to House Bill 883, which effectively allows any property owner to rent his or her residence for even one night, unless restrictions were in effect before the bill passed in 2012.

“Some of the legislators apparently have found nightly rentals right next to their homes,” Peelen said.

The next BIEO meeting will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, at Bradenton Beach City Hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.

9 Responses to AM, HB officials take paid parking to next level

  1. Robert Reynolds says:

    A a winter renter, I would think you’d want to encourage tourism,
    not deter it. Previous administration have created the problem
    with the over building of small rental units. That aside, how
    about a flashing sign prior on Manatee around 75th street or so
    indicating that beach is full and/or no parking left on island
    or words to that effect. This won’t stop eveyone, but may deter
    a few to stop the congestion. Also some people come to island
    to visit the restaurants and I would be careful posting paid parking in those areas to hurt those businesses. Most important,
    how are property owners who rent going to get parking permits
    to their renters. Permit should be displayed and not made
    with a pen as I know of one person who has used alcohol to
    erase his expiration date on his handicap card and putting in a
    new date. If the parking fee can be beat, it will be. That
    seems to be the american way.

  2. Tim Johnson says:

    I am a mainlander, NOT a day-tripper, because that sounds like a drug reference! I have been visiting this island since the late seventies. My father, brother and I have fished on the Anna Maria Pier and the Bridge street pier regularly until my father passed away in 1997. I have seen a thousand sunsets and eaten at just about every restaurant on the island! I have had ice cream at Two Scoops, shopped at many island stores, and never once did I race down the street with music blaring or throw trash out of my car!
    I am on disability now, and I am on a tight budget. So I am understandably upset about being targeted for paid parking. It is not fair to punish with fees the many who visit Anna Maria and don’t create any problems than the few who do!
    It is not bloody fair!

  3. Ben Hardin says:

    This is sad. We need rational leadership. The island is shared by many, including tourists and day visitors. Unfortunately, a few selfish people want it all to themselves.

  4. Paula Olivero says:

    As a home owner and soon to be resident of AMI, I applaud the efforts of the governing boards in addressing the issue of traffic congestion on the island. It should not take anyone, especially the residents, an hour to get the grocery store because of bumper to bumper traffic on the island.

    This is a barrier island and not the mainland made up of an approximate 7 mi x 2mi piece of land not ever designed to have the traffic that it is now seeing. The residents on the island want to share their piece of paradise with everyone but not at the cost of the taxes they pay to live the island lifestyle only to be sitting in the traffic that one gets in a major city.

    I appreciate the efforts of the governing body and encourage them to continue to explore options.
    Certainly other beach communities have faced similar concerns. In N.J. they have beach permits, others only permit vehicles during certain hours, still others stop the traffic once it has reached a capacity number. Perhaps a shuttle from the former Albertson’s parking lot in West Bradenton that folks can take to get on the island is a possibility. There is surely a solution that can be a win-win that will allow everyone to enjoy AMI but preserve the island for the residents and the environment.

  5. Rusty Thomas says:

    I am also /was a long time Bradenton resident with many friends that still live on the Island. Due to the job market I moved to Tampa to work in a field related to my education – once I saw the TV commercial re: Anna Maria Island ‘It’s our secret” or I watch a Rays game and the is Anna Maria/Longboat Key promotion in the Tropicana Dome I knew this type of issue was going to happen- great pre-planning on your behalf – next thing you will have to do is ruin natural enviroment to build beautiful parking lots with attractive parking meters-can’t wait!!

    • Miami Bound says:

      Growing up along the beach in the summers, the last thing I would ever want is to see parking lots pop up all over the island. So you invite more people to come to the beach, allow them to park (with a fee so the city can make money), and have them trash our beaches (then in turn spending more money to clean the area up) and force the locals who respect and love that beach out…. Great idea! I can’t wait.. NOT!!!!!!!!

  6. Ernest Riedel says:

    I’m from N.E. and one of the nicest things about living in FL is that there are NO parking meters everywhere, causing worry and expense on when the meter will run out etc. It’s such a nuisance! Now you guys can’t wait to make things unpleasant here. As far as it raising more revenue that has never worked, there is never enough revenue because once they get it, they keep spending more than what comes in, a never ending cycle, haven’t you noticed? Or is it just me? Duh. Forget about more revenue, cut spending and unnecessary programs that certain ones dream up! Forget about Parking Meters, they are bad news!

  7. AnnaMaria Truth says:

    BURN THE BRIDGES.

    The Mayors and Commissioners are doing a great job of letting the world (yes, the world… their comments are now going viral) that they hate tourists.

    Rather than pick around the edge of what they perceive to be a problem (tourism), just implement a one-time, fix all solution: BLOW UP THE BRIDGES.

    If they want to accomplish what they think will be a utopian society (i.e. an Island all to themselves), just pull the plug an eliminate once and for all the access to the Island. These elected officials have determined that not only does the Island (and its business) not want tourists, they have surely made the unilateral decision that those tourists are not needed.

    Option 2: gather up all your monies, Mayors and Commissioners, and buy all the businesses and evil rental properties since you surely don’t want those owners here either, and then you will have it all to yourselves. You are accomplishing this anyway by your asinine comments, statements, letters, and TV interviews communicating your disdain for tourists.

    The Southern Living and USA Today reporters who you praised for “noticing” AMI several years ago are in the process of re-writing their articles to reflect this new attitude you are boisterously shouting out to the world. Also, Flip Key, TripAdvisors, and others are re-evaluating their ratings.

    The sound of crickets and, of course, your own voices will soon be the only thing you will hear… just the way you want it.

    Good Job elected officials.

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