Talk of a possible parking garage for St. Armands Circle

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SARASOTA, FLA   One of the hardest places to find parking in the Sarasota area is in St. Armands Circle.

Tim Trout runs Island Pursuit on St. Armands Cicle.  He says during the season, and especially during events, he's lost business because people simply can't find places to park.

"We've been told that by a lot of customers the day after a big event," Trout said.

Carey Vorveck agrees, "You don't want to spend half your night looking for parking, it's ridiculous.  It's problematic at best. Driving around hoping for a spot," he said.

Sarasota's Parking Division Manager says the Circle needs 320-450 more parking spaces. Mark Lyons says a feasibility study is nearly complete--and already one thing is clear.

"Without question, there is a demand for parking out there that can't be satisfied without going vertical," Lyons said.

Going vertical--as in a parking garage, and not just one.

"There was an idea that two garages could be built," Lyons said.

One possible location is the lot behind Columbia Restaurant, and the other would be in the lot behind Crab and Fin.

Some neighbors are concerned more spaces will mean more traffic on the side-streets, others want the city to experiment with more trolleys and possible a water taxi first.  But others say bring on a garage.

"I think it would be wonderful for some sort of parking structure here," Vorveck said.

"We'd like to see a garage sooner than later," Trout said.

While this is still preliminary, the City will be breaking ground May 19th on a parking garage at the corner of Lemon and State Streets. It'll be the City's second garage in the past few years. The other is on Palm Avenue, north of Main Street.