The Sarasota County Traffic Advisory Council’s March 8 meeting began 30 minutes late, because members of the volunteer board were stuck in traffic.
The irony drew chuckles from the more than 15 people who showed up for the meeting, including Siesta Key resident Marlene Merkle.
But, the Realtor, who has lived on Avenida de Mayo for 32 years, got serious when she presented a petition to ban right-of-way parking along the half-mile roadway.
“I think safety is the really big issue here,” Merkle said to the four council members who made it through the traffic to the R.L. Anderson Administration Center in Venice.
Eat Here Manager Stefan Waiss spoke against the petition at the meeting. He contended the No. 1 beach ranking from Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman has made Siesta a year-round destination. That means the island has year-round parking shortages.
Street-side parking north of Ocean Boulevard is prohibited or restricted to guests of rental units with permits, explained Sarasota County Traffic Operations staff member Ryan Montague.
But, on Avenida de Mayo, which is on the south end of the Village, parking is allowed in the right of way.
Special events can attract enough cars to turn parts of Aveinda de Mayo into a one-way street.
At least 40 vehicles lined the south side of the road when the Budweiser Clydesdales trotted through the Village March 1.
“It’s almost impossible to get out of my driveway,” said Avenida de Mayo resident Pat Conte. Cars lining the street can create blind spots, such as the one that almost caused Conte to hit two skateboarders in early March, she said.
County staff recommended no-parking signs on the two entrances to the roadway, but Traffic Advisory Council Chairman Frank Domingo thought the issue wasn’t fully represented at the south Sarasota County meeting.
Domingo was one of the two dissenters in the 2-2 vote, which results in a no decision.
“Usually a denial or no decision doesn’t go to the (County Commission),” Domingo said. “But, I bet this will go to the board.”
It takes between four and six weeks for a Traffic Advisory Council recommendation to reach county commissioners.
“It’s about time to go back and take a look at parking (on Siesta),” Domingo said.
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