Town talks Village parking

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Longboat Key Town Commissioner Jack Daly uttered what could be considered a final solution for what some residents say is a grave and serious situation of numerous fast drivers on Broadway.

“Speed bumps could be effective if the current methods do not work,” said Daly.

This comment followed concerns raised by Villager Becky Parish.

“I’m concerned and you should be as well. No parking is probably the only thing that will help our Village,” said Parish.

Although Parish addressed the commission during the Public Comments section on the agenda, the commission would later approve the first reading of some ordinance language that would at least clarify the distance the public can park from residential driveways.

The Commission agreed with town staff that a 15-foot setback from private driveways along the south side of Broadway needs to be clearly in the code. Further, striping a 15-foot area adjacent to driveways, “should improve sight visibility,” according to Planning, Zoning and Building Director Allen Parsons.

But for some residents in the Village, these parking regulations and tweaks do not address what they see as an underlying problem, which is allowing diners at the two commercial eateries in the otherwise residential enclave to park throughout the community.

During the busy season, the restaurants are full. The Mar Vista uses the equivalent of hundreds of parking spaces throughout the course of any given evening.

Of additional concern is that tourists, according to some Villagers, frequently speed on the roadways.

“Sight lines do not work. I cannot see pulling out on a bicycle. I would never allow my children to ride a bike in our neighborhood anymore; there are too many people speeding,” said Parish.

Last week, the Longboat Key Police Department installed a newly-acquired radar trailer that not only displays the speed of drivers, but aggregates the information so overall driving habits can be analyzed.

Broadway was recently posted at a reduced speed of 20 mph. According to Deputy Chief Frank Rubino, the average recorded speed has been 17 mph. Rubino told the commission that those who received tickets have said they were unaware of the speed limit.

Parish took issue in saying that although the average may be 17 mph, “That does not mean there are not 24 per week speeding.”

“I would hate for something to happen that you could not fix like someone getting hit,” said Parish.

It was that statement that prompted Commissioner Daly to make his mention of speed bumps a possibly effective method.

Mayor George Spoll, who has long railed against the installation of speed humps at St. Armands Circle, remarked after Daly’s comment that, “speed bumps do get people’s attention.”

Later in the meeting, the commission did approve first reading of the driveway setback standards and the issue will go to a first and final reading on Jan. 6.

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