City to approach parking from a new angle on Venice Avenue

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VENICE, Fla. - City officials and many downtown business owners say in tourist season, there simply is not enough parking. A recent study suggested a new approach which would create more spaces; it's called reverse angle parking.

However, many are concerned it will create more headaches.

Currently, all along Venice Avenue, there is parallel parking. But soon one block will be reverse angle as a trial. That means drivers will go past and back in. It will create more spaces, but it comes with a cost.

We wanted to find out what people on the avenue thought. We got an earful.

"I think it would be disastrous." Venice resident Patricia Keene says a change to reverse angle parking spots on Venice Avenue would be tough for people like her. "We have a lot of older people with arthritis. We cannot look in back of us to see what is behind us, just ordinarily. To park in a space with these high backed cars would be almost impossible."

However the new angle would create more spaces, something shop owners say are needed.

"In season it's hard to find parking a parking space," says Joe Mathers of Kerri’s Jewels and Gems. Even so, we asked 10 downtown business owners what they think. Not one was for going from parallel to reverse angle. "Huge concerns; I don't see that as a viable option to the parking problem," says Mathers.

Perhaps the main reason is it also means going from two lanes on each side of the median down to one. "That scares me. We have a great beach down here. During season the cars are lined up coming off the beach in the afternoon as far as you can see. That's with two lanes," says Kay Kropac of Café Venice.

Even some Venice leaders, like Mayor John Holic, have doubts. "If we did all of Venice Avenue that way, I think that would be an issue."

This week however, city leaders approved a $30,000 plan for in front of City Hall. The changes to the single block of parking will increase spaces from the current 12 to 17. It may however be temporary. “If it doesn't work we can just scrape it up and we have our street right back to where it was without a lot of repair," says Holic.

Benefits include getting out of the space easier and being able to unload or fill up your trunk more safely. Other concerns include drivers backing up into shops and even fumes blowing directly on those at the many outdoor eating establishments.

"I don't know, we need a solution. I don't know if this is the solution," says Kropac.

So far it appears it's going to be a tough sell, no matter what angle you take.

"I moved to Venice because I liked Venice Main Street. I like it just the way it is," says Keene.

Another concern is emergency vehicles. With only one lane, on Venice Avenue each way it could make it much harder to respond to calls.