Anna Maria city commissioners plan to discuss a paid parking proposal now being prepared by Mayor SueLynn and staff at a September commission meeting.
The impetus for a paid parking plan stemmed from a Florida Department of Transportation traffic count July 3-9 that found an average of 11,500 cars entered the city each day. The count took place over the July 4 holiday, which included a parade and fireworks celebration in the city. It is the only traffic count study the city has and there is no prior study available for comparison.
SueLynn told commissioners in August that the influx of day visitors was “overwhelming the city’s infrastructure” and parking spaces close to beach accesses are at a premium. She said the quality of life in Anna Maria is negatively affected by day-visitor parking issues.
According to figures supplied by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Anna Maria substation, however, the number of parking tickets issued July 1-15, 2013, declined from the same period in 2012.
The MCSO reported 113 parking tickets were issued July 1-July 15 this year. For the same period in 2012, 170 parking tickets were issued.
MCSO Sgt. Paul Davis said deputies are “doing a better job of educating the public” on where and how to park in Anna Maria.
Still, the mayor said a paid parking plan is needed because residents are negatively affected by visitor parking, primarily on holidays and weekends.
At the Aug. 22 commission meeting, SueLynn and commissioners discussed the use of kiosks to sell passes for parking, creating paid parking areas and issuing permits for parking on the rights of way. Vacation rental property managers could either be issued or purchase parking passes for short-term renters, according to the discussion.
The mayor said all those options would be discussed by staff before any are included in the plan.
“Not everyone will like this plan when it’s presented,” SueLynn said. “But at least it will be a starting point.”