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Sarasota Wednesday, Jun. 26, 2019 2 months ago

July 4, Grand Prix closures: What to expect

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Many downtown Sarasota roads and parking lots will be closed throughout the weekend.
by: Brynn Mechem Staff Writer

With powerboats, fireworks and thousands of visitors all making their way to Sarasota, there are a few things holiday-observers should keep in mind. 

The weekend will bring road and parking lot closures, as well as heavy traffic, so beach-goers should be sure to pack their patience. 

The Sarasota Police Department reminds residents and visitors of a few safety tips to keep themselves and the area’s wildlife safe. 

Residents should report any suspicious behavior to law enforcement immediately and be mindful of road closures and county ordinances. 

Due to limited parking spaces, the department recommends people carpool. Additionally, visitors should expect long delays from the beach area and exit times in excess of one hour following the conclusion of fireworks and races. 

Illegally parked vehicles are subject to ticketing. Vehicles blocking private driveways are subject to towing. 

Any vehicles not removed by the posted times for road closures will be towed. For information on towed vehicles, call Upman’s Towing at 941-364-7084.

Fourth of July road closures and limited parking

  • Bayfront Drive from Gulfstream Avenue to Orange Avenue will be closed from 7-11:30 p.m. 
  • The parking lot at Bayfront Park will close when the lot has reached maximum capacity. No parking will be permitted on the grass. Additional parking will be available at the Palm Avenue Garage and State Street Garage, though visitors should expect delays when exiting due to heavy traffic.  

Downtown Block Party closures

The city will hold a block party from 6-10 p.m. July 5. In preparation for the event, various streets will close during the day. 

1:30 p.m. to midnight: 

  • Lemon Avenue closed from First Street to Main Street

3:30-10 p.m.: 

  • Main Street closed from Orange Avenue to Gulfstream Avenue
  • Central Avenue closed from First Street to Main Street
  • Pineapple Avenue closed from First Street to Main Street
  • South Palm Avenue closed from Main Street to McAnsh Square
  • North Palm Avenue closed from Main Street to Alley Way
  • First Street closed from Central Avenue to Pineapple Avenue

Weekend-long road and parking closures

  • Van Wezel parking lots and Van Wezel Way from East End to 10th Street will be closed from 8 p.m. July 4 through 6 p.m. July 7
  • The South Lido overflow parking lot will close at 10 p.m. July 6 and reopen at 5 p.m. July 7

Other closures

  • Centennial Park and its boat ramp will be the staging area for the Grand Prix Festival, so there will be no boat ramp access from 11:59 p.m. July 4 through 6 p.m. July 7. A suggested alternative boat ramp is located in Ken Thompson Park. 
  • New Pass will be closed west of the New Pass Bridge from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 7. Boaters will be able to access the cove. 

Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix race day information

Any race day operations, will only be announced on race control frequency. A live stream of the grand prix will be shown on Facebook live. 

Marine turtle protection

Lido Key public beaches are closed from 11 p.m. to sunrise, around 6:30 a.m. The Sarasota County Sea Turtle Protection Ordinance requires all beach furniture and equipment be removed from the beach nightly. Sarasota police will enforce closure times as well as post signs prohibiting visitors from storing personal property on the beach to ensure the safety of beachgoers and marine turtles. Due to beach erosion, spectators are asked to stay off sand dunes along Lido Beach. 

Wildlife protection

The Sarasota Police Department will conduct enhanced enforcement measures to ensure the conservation of several threatened species of wildlife such as Black Skimmers, Least Terns and Snow Plovers. Those on the beach should be aware of posted signs and fencing and stay away from marine turtle nests and seabird nesting areas. If members of the public observe stranded, sick or injured animals, they should call Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium’s Stranding Investigations Program at 941-988-0212. 

Pets

The police department encourages pet owners to leave their furry friends at home. In the past, several animals were lost after being spooked during events. 

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