Westbound motorists on Manatee Avenue approaching the traffic signal at Gulf Drive over the July 4 holiday were greeted with information on a sign prepared by the public works department announcing “additional parking at Hancock Bank.” Islander Photo: Bonner Joy
Parking options could diminish for island visitors if the Holmes Beach Traffic and Congestion Committee has its way.
The committee members discussed further restricting parking in residential areas at their June 30 meeting.
The committee is seeking to relieve tension on residential streets during high traffic times, such as holidays, by restricting parking there altogether.
One kink in the plan to further restrict parking in residential areas may be limitations on beach renourishment funding. According to Charlie Hunsicker, director of the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resource Department, funding for beach renourishment projects relies heavily on the availability of public parking on the island.
According to committee chair Carol Soustek, much of the committee’s is work now is focused on counting the number of parking spaces that exist and determining what can be eliminated without jeopardizing renourishment funding.
“We’re verifying information that we have, making it very clear what we can and cannot do,” said Soustek. “I don’t think we have a problem with what we have, but we don’t want to cause any problems.”
Hunsicker told attendees at a June meeting of the Coalition of Barrier Island Elected Officials that the island cities must check with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on the number of public parking spaces required to receive government funding for renourishment before adopting ordinances that further limit parking.
Hunsicker said the DEP has a formula that is applied.
Committee members also discussed the potential for issuing decals that would allow residents to park on streets in residential areas if they do proceed with a plan for further restrictions.
The traffic committee will next meet at 9:30 a.m. Monday, July 21, at city hall. The committee plans to present its research and a parking plan to the city commission 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 22, at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.