SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT
More than 40 people crowded into Bradenton Beach
City Hall to discuss the problems stemming from
a shortage of parking spaces in the city. Alan
Garrett (far right) was hired to facilitate the
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH Tourists and
others new to the city dont know where they can
park, and if they get confused, theyre likely to
People who come to visit the beach park in spacs intended
for customers along Bridge Street.
Businesses end up sharing their parking space, customers
to the BeachHouse restaurant might end up parking on Bridge
Street and customers to Vinjavagar might end up parking
at the BeachHouse.
Those were some of the remarks from the more than 40 people
who attended a meeting at Bradenton Beach City Hall on
Wednesday, Jan. 17.
It was billed as a town hall meeting and Mayor John Chappie
hired a facilitator to run it, saying everyone at the
meeting would be on equal footing, whether a business
owner or an elected official.
"Every idea is on the table," he said, when
announcing the series of meeting to look for solutions
to the shortage of parking spaces.
Other observations were that the citys parking shortage
is centered on its business district in and around Bridge
Street and that ticketing tourists who park illegally
should be done as a last resort to keep from discouraging
them to vacation here again.
City planner Alan Garrett ran the meeting, saying the
first two weekly sessions would be used to look at the
problem followed by a weeks break and then a meeting
to discuss solutions.
The meetings are the result of complaints by business
owners over the shortage of parking spaces in the business
district when the city was considering a major development
permit for the reconstruction of the Bridge Street Pier.
Part of the new pier would be a restaurant with more seating
spaces than the previous one, but with the same number
of parking spaces. That statistic brought the complaints
from the business owners.
"At BridgeWalk, we have enough parking spaces for
the resort and restauran, but there is uncontrolled parking
on the street," said Barbara Rodocker, owner of BridgeWalk
and Silver Surf resorts. "On holiday weekends, we
have had to hire officers to police our parking lot. We
dont feel we should have to pay someone to do what
the police should be doing."
Others said that the city needs to provide parking for
employees of the shops so that the existing spots near
their shops will be available for customers.
The next meeting is at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 24, at
city hall. Everyone is welcome.