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HB traffic committee seeks parking relief on some streets

By Jennifer Glenfield, Islander Reporter

Parked cars line the street near a beach access in Holmes Beach. Islander Photo: Courtesy Jaynie Christenson

A makeshift “No Parking” sign is posted outside a residence in Holmes Beach. Islander Photo: Courtesy Jaynie Christenson

The Holmes Beach Traffic Committee is proposing a plan to give relief from street parking to some homeowners near the beach.

The committee claims it has discovered areas for public parking that haven’t been accounted for in the past in order to maintain the total number of public parking spaces provided in the city.

But the newly identified parking areas are apparently already in use by visitors, beachgoers and business patrons for parking.

The plan presented to commissioners July 22 includes relocating signs for public parking spaces from residential areas to commercial streets — musical chairs for signs.

Before going to the commission, committee members met July 21 to discuss their plan to reassign parking, paying particular attention to the required number of public parking spaces for Manatee County to qualify for future beach renourishment funding.

The committee learned the renourishment funding does not call for an actual count of parking spaces, but rather parking spaces with signs designating public spaces.

Committee chair Carol Soustek contacted Charlie Hunsicker, director of the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department, and committee member Jaynie Christenson consulted with Erica Carr-Betts, civil engineer with Coastal Planning and Engineering, contracted by the county to perform a renourishment-related parking study on Anna Maria Island.

The committee also canvassed the city, counting signs and accounting for unsigned spaces. Members provided commissioners with a list of residential streets with public parking signs, and a list of commercial streets that lack signs.

The committee’s plan is to prohibit public parking on the streets and rights of way in residential areas. Committee members have cited complaints from residents related to beachgoers parking in front of their homes.

“People are parking on any and all available streets, including sidewalks, and it’s a safety factor. People are too close to stop signs, and you can’t get a car down the street, much less an emergency vehicle. And people are parking the wrong direction,” Soustek said.

“There are a lot of places to park not in residential areas, and people are already parking there. They’re just not signed,” said Soustek.

In Holmes Beach, street parking is allowed. According to Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer, it is only illegal to park on streets that are posted “No Parking.”

The traffic committee suggested prohibiting parking in residential zones, eliminating 41 spaces. They accounted for 52 existing spaces in commercial zones that they suggest the city post with parking signs.

The committee estimates the city needs a minimum of 364 spaces to earn maximum funding for renourishment, and members found 422 eligible spaces.

Committee members also proposed issuing decals or residential parking tags, so residents can provide guest parking on their streets or rights of way.

City planner Bill Brisson advised the city commission at the July 22 meeting: “I have been involved in this with one other community. Normally you don’t use zoning districts, you use a distance. Zoning districts are nothing but a confusion. It should be something like west of Gulf Drive.”

Commission Chair Judy Titsworth delayed taking any action. “My suggestion is to give us all the information and let it soak in. There’s going to be public that want to speak. I think we should address it again real soon at another work session and get more public comment,” she said.

The city commission will again discuss the traffic committee’s parking proposal at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14, at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.

5 Responses to HB traffic committee seeks parking relief on some streets

  1. Dr. Joanne Veer says:

    I would like to protest this parking decision. I lived for years on Anna Maria and now commute from Bradenton. It would be tremendously difficult for me not to be able to situate on a private street close to the beach on the north end which is my preferred area. I always obey the signs and have never seen anyone else do otherwise. To be confined to a public area away from the actual beach access would mean that I could no longer enjoy Anna Maria. Please reconsider your change of policy. I am a peaceful and obedient visitor.
    Dr. Joanne Veer

    • HB Resident says:

      Why do AMI visitors feel it is their right to park in private neighborhoods? Neighborhood parking is for the residents that live there. Please park at the public beach access areas where there are restrooms, life guards, trash bins, and cafés. Island residents don’t park in front of your home to go to the mall or grocery store. There is plenty of parking in the public designated parking lots. Arrive early and get a good spot and enjoy the beach!

      • bonnerj says:

        Perhaps because we have no private neighborhoods… no gates… no homeowner associations and no deed restrictions. We are an open community. Our streets are PUBLIC roads, maintained with state gas taxes and city taxes. We are not a haven for the privileged few … we are a resort community. — Bonner Joy

  2. Michael Doerr says:

    I completely agree with Bonner. We live in the 200 block of 66th street, and have rarely seen a parking problem. Yeah, sometimes folks will park in front of the mailbox, yeah when there is construction going on workers may clog up the street…it doesn’t last forever. A bigger problem is truck traffic racing down 66th, from the Bistro, and construction supply trucks, with trusses, or concrete, or whatever. I don’t know where they are headed, because there is little to no construction on 66th at the moment. It wood be a good location for speed bumps.

  3. Richard Brown says:

    I live on an extremely busy residentisal street in Holmes Beach. We have cars hunting for parking spaces 7 days a week. When all the spaces are taken we have a parade of cars speeding down a dead end street and u-turning out of the street all day long. The nature of my street is quite and private enough for visitors to park their cars, dump out their McDonalds Bag and empty Super-Sized drink on the street because they can’t walk it up to the trash can. Before and after their visit to the beach they find it convenient to relieve themselves in a space between their car and the wall because the Johnny On The Spot Port-A-John is too inconvenient. I am talking about the girls too! Since the Holmes Beach Police are enforcing the No Drinking Policy on the Beach, the visitors are either going back and forth to their cars to either refill their zippy cups with a mixed drink or a beer. Sometimes they just sit in the car, run the engine, and sip their alcoholic beverage of choice with a marijuana joint. We ave been witnessing this beach ritual for many years and we are very tired of it.

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