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Anna Maria parking citations decline, city eyes paid parking options

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

A pickup truck stopped on a street in Anna Maria is observed to have two of its wheels on the pavement, although, according to a city ordinance, all wheels must be off the road. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

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.”

5 Responses to Anna Maria parking citations decline, city eyes paid parking options

  1. Tim Johnson says:

    Are comments given here ever printed in the newspaper itself? Does anybody at the Islander even read these on-line letters?
    Last week I wrote extensively on my objections to paid parking on the island. Once again, I am not a day-tripper, which sounds like a drug reference, but a Mainlander who has been visiting the Island since the late seventies!I do not speed down the roads with my top down and music blaring, nor do I ever throw garbage out the window! Charging me for parking, especially at Manatee Beach or Bayfront Park, is not fair!

    • bonnerj says:

      The comments (first read/approved) are included with the story and the comments page online. Online only, unless requested by email for publication in print. — Bonner Joy

  2. Carla Drake says:

    Anna Maria Island has created their own greedy little nightmare!

  3. Marti Blauvelt says:

    Does anyone think that paid parking will be a good thing? Hearing that this will keep the “undesirables” out, that is ridiculous! They already ride the city bus for free, and go anywhere they want. The idea of charging for parking at Holmes Beach could also cause people to park along side streets causing an uproar from locals. Does the city officials want that? In my opinion, the idea of a public parking garage is even more ridiculous!!

  4. Robin 'Roblimo' Miller says:

    Don’t worry, Mayor SueLynn. I won’t take my wife out to dinner at The Waterfront any more, which is the usual reason we drive from our mainland home to your hoity town. Since we usually go there in the off-season, when there aren’t many tourists, I’m sure the restaurant’s owners and the employees we have been in the habit of tipping generously will be glad we don’t come and bother them.

    Thanks for letting us know we’re not wanted. For some reason, we used to think we were.

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