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Date of Issue: March 01, 2007

Short-term parking fixes honed in Bradenton Beach

The list of short-term solutions to the parking problem in Bradenton Beach is shorter.

A group of residents, business owners and others have been meeting for several weeks to discuss the parking issues in the city. All have agreed that there are a lot of available spaces in the city, but all have also agreed that the parking spaces are not necessarily where most people want them — in the Bridge Street area.

In a meeting facilitated by Alan Garrett of about 30 people last week, quick-fix solutions to parking were aired and winnowed. Topping the list: develop an employee parking zone at the northern end of Cortez Beach, thereby freeing up parking spots throughout the rest of the business core of the city.

Enforcement of limited parking in the Bridge Street area was another top contender in the list of parking solutions, especially in the city parking lot on First Street North.

And creation of a public-private parking lot on the beach just south of the BeachHouse Restaurant was another viable solution to parking woes, the group agreed. Restaurant owner Ed Chiles has said that up to 40 parking spaces could be created on his property, with more possible by utilizing an adjoining city parcel.

The group agreed that the parking lot at Harvey Memorial Church, off Church Avenue, could be utilized as a place for employee parking, although no one from the church was present to provide input.

And designating motorcycle slots in existing parking lots could scrunch bikes and scooters and such into spaces that otherwise could be utilized by larger vehicle.

There was also consensus to offer a reward system for people who utilized the Manatee Trolley rather than taking a personal vehicle to patronize businesses or restaurants on Bridge Street.

Better signage, identifying parking spots that should be used for business patrons rather than beachgoers, was also suggested, as was better signage at trolley stops identifying both the bus routes and pickup times.

The BeachHouse Restaurant parking lot plan is scheduled to be presented to the city commission March 1 at its regular meeting at 7 p.m.

The parking group will meet again at 5 p.m. March 7 at city hall.