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Year in Review – Longboat Village parking and traffic controls

 

The Longboat Key Town Commission this year heard Village residents tell tales of parking woes associated with the Mar Vista Restaurant and The Shore Restaurant.

In addition, residents complained that not only were cars cluttering the side streets, but that visitors were speeding down Broadway causing a safety hazard.

Commissioners listened to possible solutions brought forward by town staff.

Commissioner Jack Daly suggested that traffic controls such as speed slowing mechanisms might help as well.

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

The commission approved the first reading of an ordinance that would clarify the distance the public can park from residential driveways, a new speed limit reduction to 20 mph on Broadway, and limited times for parking on side streets. 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. 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.

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

“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 one Village resident.

But for some residents in the Village, these parking regulations and tweaks do not address what they see as the biggest 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 Shore and Mar Vista Restaurants are full. The Mar Vista uses the equivalent of hundreds of parking spaces throughout the course of any given evening.

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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