Tips and tricks for enjoying Fourth of July on the Suncoast

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Posted: Monday, June 30, 2014 8:00 am

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Whenever the Fourth of July falls on a weekend (as it does this year) there's always a big crowd around Sarasota Bay. However, all those people can cause big headaches when you're driving to and from events. To avoid the hassle, here's a few parking tips to make your holiday weekend a little less stressful and I lot more fun.

There will be NO PARKING allowed on the Bayfront on the south end of Island Park, between Ringling Boulevard and Selby Gardens property line during the firework display on the 4th. This area will be used as a pedestrian viewing area only -- no vehicles allowed.

On July 3rd, during the Festival Parade of Power Boats, if you want to enjoy an alcoholic beverages outside, you must be within the 1400-1500 blocks of Main Street. Beyond this area, you must be seated at one of the surrounding restaurants.

Speaking of alcohol, remember to be responsible while enjoying your time out. If you think you've had a bit too much to drink, BeMyDD offers two services to help: Designated Driver and a Pick Up Service. With the Designed Driver, you can reserve a driver for the day or evening for $16 per hour. Alternatively, the Pick Up Service has a sober driver pick you up and drive you and your car back home. The cost for this service is $25 for a pick-up plus mileage charges.

The schedule for local parking will be as followed:

THURSDAY, JULY 3, 2014 – POWER BOATS BY THE BAY SET UP

Van Wezel Parking Lot will be closed from 7 a.m. July 3rd – 12:30 a.m. July 7th.

THURSDAY, JULY 3, 2014 – BOAT PARADE & STAGING AREA CLOSURES

1 p.m. – Midnight Lemon Avenue: First Street to State Street

2 p.m. – 9 p.m. East Avenue: Main Street to Fruitville Road

2 p.m. – 9 p.m. Wallace Avenue: Main Street to Fruitville Road

4 p.m. – 9 p.m. Main Street: US 301 to School Avenue

6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Main Street: Pineapple to GulfStream Avenue

6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Main Street: US 301 to Orange Avenue

6 p.m. – Midnight Main Street: Orange Avenue to Central Avenue

FRIDAY, JULY 4, 2014 - FIREWORKS- ROAD CLOSURES/LIMITED PARKING:

Bayfront Drive (US 41), from Gulfstream Avenue to Orange Avenue will close at 7:00 p.m. and will remain closed until approximately 10:00 p.m.

Parking lot at Bayfront Park/Island Park will be closed when the parking lot has reached maximum capacity. No parking will be permitted on the grass area south end of Bayfront.

Palm Avenue Garage, located on Palm Avenue between Main Street and Cocoanut Avenue, will have 700 free parking spaces.

Expect heavy traffic exiting the event.

FRIDAY, JULY 4, 2014 – Centennial Park / Boat Ramp Closed 

This area will be utilized as the staging area for the Suncoast Offshore Grand Prix race boats.

Van Wezel Parking Lot will be entry by permit only.

No personal watercrafts can be launch from this boat ramp during this period. SPD suggests an alternative boat ramp for use during this period located in Ken Thompson Park next to Mote Marine Laboratory, on City Island.

SATURDAY, JULY 5, 2014 – POWER BOATS BY THE BAY 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

10th Street and N. Tamiami Trail entry to the Van Wezel and Centennial Park will be closed to all traffic. 

Van Wezel Way at Plaza Del Santo Domingo will be closed – restricted entry for race participants, vendors, and sponsors. Vehicle issued entry pass required or entry denied.

SUNDAY, JULY 6, 2014:

OFFSHORE GRAND PRIX RACE – LIDO KEY LIMITED PARKING:

Carpool recommended. Illegally parked vehicles are subjected to ticketing. Vehicles blocking private driveways are subjected to towing.

Anticipate long delays from the beach area at the conclusion of the race.

Check out our events calendar for a full rundown of holiday events.

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