City Commissioners on Monday night voted unanimously to move ahead with some parking-enforcement changes on St. Armands Circle, in an effort to make it easier for customers and visitors to park.
Commissioners directed parking staff to work on a plan to remove the “box” parking lines on the Circle and a stretch of John Ringling Boulevard. In addition, commissioners want staff to consider two other possible changes that could do away with Saturday enforcement and enforcement after 6 p.m. on weekdays.
Staff will work on the parking “boxes” immediately, and report back to the commission in two weeks with a plan that either removes Saturday and evening enforcement or comes up with an alternative that St. Armands stakeholders approve of.
The motion made by Commissioner Terry Turner on Monday cleared the way for three significant changes that would mark a return to a method of parking enforcement on the Circle that was in place before an increase in enforcement in March. At the time, the City Commission voted to bag downtown parking meters and make parking restrictions uniform throughout the city, including evening and Saturday enforcement.
Bill Carman, the retired owner of Carman Shoes, said the motion passed Monday night was a good step forward for the Circle.
“We’re not against enforced parking,” Carman said. “Just keep it the way it was for 45 years.”
At Monday’s meeting, commissioners also:
• Voted down a request by the Downtown Sarasota Alliance (DSA) for $20,000 in city Tax Increment Finance (TIF) funding to be used for the 2013 downtown marketing effort. Mayor Suzanne Atwell and Commissioner Paul Caragiulo voted in favor of the funding request.
The commission, however, voted unanimously on a second motion to recommend that the Downtown Improvement District fund the marketing effort.
If the commission had agree to fund the request, the TIF dollars would have been used for a marketing effort to bring more dinners and shoppers downtown.
Commissioner Terry Turner noted that the City Commission had decided not to issue city funding to organizations and he stated that he felt the DID should consider promoting the downtown group’s marketing.
• Unanimously approved a resolution urging local vendors to cease the sale and marketing of all candy flavored tobacco products in the city.
• Moved forward with a Domestic Partnership Registry and a method for allowing residents to sign up for the registry.
• Heard an update from city staff regarding the Luke Wood Park lift station