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Longboat Key Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020 9 months ago

New parking fixes finalized in Village

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Changes make it easier for police to write parking citations.
by: Eric Garwood Managing Editor

A lot has changed along Broadway Street in recent weeks.

  • The Shore and the owners of Whitney Plaza have agreed to the use of 30 parking places at the Gulf of Mexico Drive shopping plaza, mainly for staff use.
  • Owners of Mar Vista Dockside have town approval to build a 98-vehicle parking lot just north of Whitney Plaza, along with a small building. Staff will be required to use the lot.
  • Whitney’s, at the corner of Broadway Street and Gulf of Mexico Drive, is preparing to open, with onsite parking and agreement with its neighbor to the south for additional parking.

Amid complaints from Longbeach Village residents about on-street parking of restaurant patrons and staff, business owners in the mostly residential neighborhood have taken notice. But now, Vice Mayor Ed Zunz, who represents that area, sees more on the horizon.

“All of those lead me to believe that were going to face some further requests, reasonable requests in my view, to make further restrictions on parking on Broadway itself beyond what we’re doing here,’’ he said. “So I think as far as Broadway goes, I think we’re dealing with a moving target and we should just be aware of that, so that whatever we do now, we may revisit it in a few weeks or a month or so.’’

Town Commissioners on Monday finalized three adjustments to town code making it easier – and in one case, possible – to enforce parking restrictions. The most visible is a change in wording that prohibits parking within 15-foot exclusion zones on either side of private driveways, marked with a diagonal line. Previously, police were restricted by code to writing tickets for cars that actually blocked driveways.

Additionally, a change to code was made to match up with No Parking signs on Lois Avenue.

Residents are conducting their own survey work in the neighborhoods on additional solutions they might favor, such as more no parking zones along Broadway Street or the establishment of some kind of resident-only permit, similar to what residents around St. Armands Circle are pursuing with the city of Sarasota.

“Parking still remains a challenge and an issue for residents of the Village,’’ said Allen Parsons, the town’s Planning, Zoning and Building Director. 

With the changes finalized, resident Michael Drake recommended the town eliminate the diagonal line to parking spaces on Broadway Street to eliminate the possibility of confusion.

“You’re going to see motorcycles in there, you’re going to see scooters in there,’’ he said. “It would be really nice to see those go bye.’’

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