HOLMES BEACH, Fla. - Finding parking at area beaches can be challenging, to say the least. And since there are limited spaces, visitors are often forced to park on residential streets. But street parking in residential areas on Holmes Beach may soon be eliminated.
The beaches on Anna Maria Island are a popular destination for both tourists and locals.
“The hardest part is we even got a late start today and we knew it was going to be tough to find parking. That is always a challenge,” said Jason Maroney from Ellenton.
And with more and more people visiting Florida every year, the problem continues to grow.
“We have no more room, we can't build a parking lot,” said Carol Soustek. She is the chair of the Holmes Beach Traffic and Congestion committee. “We are trying to find safe parking spots. We can't make any more land.”
Her committee is working with private businesses and churches to get permission to use their lots for overflow beach parking. Holmes Beach can now use the Hancock Bank lot which has 22 additional parking spaces.
“We opened it up for the weekends and holidays and we put up a couple signs and we clean it up for them and patrol it.”
The lot was a perfect option for Maroney who said the public beach lots were full.
“We lucked out with this bank opportunity here.”
The city of Bradenton Beach has 1600 parking spots at Coquina and Cortez Beaches that often fills up and creates the secondary problem of added congestion.
“When you have this many people out there and they can't find a parking spot they are driving around trying to find a parking spot,” said Bradenton Beach Mayor, Bill Shearon.
He says he often hears the same complaints from island residents about parking issues.
“When people are parking in front of their houses or on their lawns, illegally parking and blocking streets.”
“It is the adage of a few can ruin it for a great many,” said Soustek. She adds that island residents are very proud Anna Maria is so popular but she says residents want the right balance of visitors at any given time. She has heard many complaints about beach goers leaving trash behind or abusing private property and her committee is prepared to recommend eliminating street parking in residential areas.
“You cant have all your enjoyment at the expense of someone else.”
The Holmes Beach Traffic and Congestion Committee will present their plan to city commissioners on July 22. If approved, all street parking in residential areas will be prohibited.