Margot Sermet, a long-time Siesta resident, called recently to emphasize just how busy the Siesta Public Beach has been so far this season — and March’s traffic count is expected to be even higher.
It’s practically a Siesta tradition to ignore the signs county staff put out by Beach Road, saying the parking-lot spaces are full. Nonetheless, Sermet said, tourists and residents who ignore those signs are apt to lose their patience, as they fruitlessly circle the lot.
And if people think their cars won’t get towed from illegal parking spaces, she said, they are wrong. When Sermet called, she already had seen 10 cars towed away that morning.
If you want to be assured of a spot at the beach, she advised, get there by 9 a.m.
… But if no spots remain …
Sgt. Scott Osborne of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office fielded a question during the March 1 Siesta Key Association meeting about overflow beach parking at St. Boniface Episcopal Church, within easy walking distance of the Siesta Public Beach.
If deputies see vehicles desperately circling the beach lot, he said, they give the drivers directions to St. Boniface, just east of the intersection of Beach Road and Midnight Pass Road.
The church asks for a $5 donation to use its spaces on weekdays, said Carolyn Walker, who is in charge of membership for the parish.
However, she pointed out, members of the church’s youth group generally collect the donations on Saturdays and Sundays, and they ask for $10. The money goes into a fund for their mission trips, Walker said.