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Exploring solutions for Siesta Key parking problems

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SIESTA KEY, FL (WWSB) - At times, finding a parking spot on Siesta Key can be next to impossible year round and definitely during the busy season.

"Everybody wants to go to the number one beach in the nation and experience it," said Carolyn Brown, Director of Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources for Sarasota County.  "It brings with it cars and traffic and congestion and we're trying to find solutions to that."

Some of the solutions from a comprehensive study that Brown presented to Sarasota County Commissioners on Wednesday include paid parking, park and ride, a ferry service, bike sharing and regular bus routes.  Vice-Chair Nancy Detert says the park and ride is one solution that could work, but she isn't completely sold on paying for parking.

"I don't live on the keys, so I'm not a big fan of charging for parking," said Detert.  "The surprising news is that people who do live on the key want us to charge for parking."

For Jamie Leuthold and her husband William they visit Siesta Key a few times a year.  She says that parking is a little challenging during the season and sometimes even off season but she tells us it just takes a little riding around to find a spot.  They're both not fans of paid parking.

"I think paid parking would take away from the convenience and it might be a little more stressful," said Leuthold.  "Park and ride might not be all that bad if it was maybe at no cost."

Sarasota County Commissioners say they will continue to talk about this parking issue and explore some of the solutions in the coming months.