Sand Scripts – Options for Paid Parking at Siesta Beach

| September 1, 2017

The article titled “Paid Parking at Siesta Beach” from the August edition garnered many responses when it was shared on our Facebook page. Below are three different views on the subject received via email.

Paid parking only on holidays

The hot topic on the island after the recent Siesta Beach trashing from Memorial Day and Fourth of July is “Paid Parking”. Years ago the County Commission came close but failed the approval by a 3/2 vote against paid parking after a couple of go arounds.

Unfortunately, now with the recent graffiti defacing the new facility, it could be the tipping point in favor of paid parking.

Let’s compromise, have paid parking on holidays only. A simple $10 a car, all day pass for holiday weekends, a weekend would start on a Friday. This will help to pay for cleaning up the park and paying for attendees to handle the parking lot. The beach would have staff cleaning the trash continuously similar to how Disney handles their grounds.

If paid parking is permitted at Siesta Beach, where does it stop? Should paid parking be at all locations on the key, beach accesses, the Municipal Parking lot in the Village, the new parking lot coming from the Sheriff’s Training facility and Turtle Beach?

Alan Cannestra

In favor of paid parking

On September 16, the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce voted in favor of paid parking at Siesta Beach under certain conditions. An email from Mark Smith, chair of the chamber was sent to Carolyn Brown at Sarasota County informing her of the decision.

In his email, Smith said, “To follow up on our Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce Board meeting today regarding paid parking at Siesta Beach, the board voted to support paid parking at Siesta Beach under the following conditions:”

1. All Sarasota County property owners will have free parking at Siesta Beach. Parking decals, (2) per household, could be dispensed with the annual property tax TRIM notice.

2. Non-property owners, renters could purchase a yearly parking pass/decal.

3. Visitors to Siesta Beach would pay an hourly and/or day parking rate. Rate to be in line with other/similar beach communities.

4. All proceeds from the Siesta Beach paid parking will be used on Siesta Key.

Valet Parking option is the answer

NO to paid parking, Dr. Beach would agree!  The Problem is that our Parking lot gets jammed by 10:00 AM.  

Paid parking does NOT help the issue of relieving traffic flow nor is it friendly. Many Sarasota families cannot afford paid parking (they use the Beach as an inexpensive way to spend the day as a family). Many guests to our area save the entire year just to get here.  Others that can afford paid parking expect something more for it.  The issue is that beachgoers rush to the parking lot, jamming up Midnight pass.  If the OPTION exists some will take their time.

Free parking w/the option of  Valet is your answer.

a.) Valet parking can address the “lot is full“ issue that clogs up midnighpass. Cars will no longer be forced to circulate in the parking lot and driving back and forth on Midnight Pass Road wondering where to park. Not to mention, a steady flow created in the evening. Everyone can’t rush out the moment the Sunsets. After all, Best to pour our coffee rather than dumping it, Right?.

b.) Professional Valet company, can utilize a section of  Glebe park or somewhere else close – even a section of the main lot, the furthest away section. How many spots could be added to say the Sherriff’s old Training facility if vehicles could be double and triple stacked by professionals?

c.) If private land is used, with the correct zoning,  offer a tax break.

d.) A professional company eliminates insurance concerns as well as trash left behind.

e.) Part of the revenue generated from Valet parking should be returned to the county and reinvested in all things Siesta Key. Valet will start generating revenues immediately without expensive upfront cost.

Valet means better guest and visitor services. This better revenue source approach serves our community and residences much better.  It’s what I call a “Value Add”.

Solve the problems(s) by addressing the issue(s)

Michael Holderness

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