For years now the Planning Advisory Board and the Marco Island City Council have been discussing parking issues and the impact that has on residents and businesses. Those issue are most prevalent during what residents refer to as “season,” or from December through the end of April.
The parking issue intensified when the Planning Advisory Board and Council relaxed the parking requirements on restaurants when they chose to change the formula previously used to determine parking requirements and substituted one parking space for every four seats. This was a catalyst for the expansion of a number of popular establishments and the cause of considerable angst between businesses and previous councils as they sought to correct the errors of the past.
Early in 2017 an Ad-Hoc Parking Solutions Committee was formed and they were tasked to bring forth suggestions to ease the problems to council. That committee would sunset after the first meeting in November of 2017.
Several meetings have beenheld as the committee has looked to identify some of the issues and possible solutions. The group has broken the island up into five sections and a member of the committee has been assigned to look at the challenges, review the inventory of available parking assets and look at potential additions to ease the pressure on parking needs.
Some of the ideas that have been floated through the committee include the following: In Old Marco the suggestion has been made to add parking and drainage improvements to the swale areas from Pier 81 to Palm Street and to look at similar improvements on the commercial side of Palm to Edington. The city is looking at costing and designs to accomplish that. To ease parking near the Esplanade they are looking at adding diagonal parking on West Elkcam and adding additional parallel parking on Herb Savage Way. At Veterans Community Park and along Park Avenue they are looking atthe possibility of adding diagonal parking along Park Avenue. They have also discussed a possible parking structure being built to replace the Veterans Community Park asphalt lot presently there, in addition to looking at purchasing a vacant lot at the corner of Park and Elkcam for additional space. Exploring the idea of issuing residential stickers for legal parking in the swales during high peak times. A return to allowing parking in the swales on Swallow Avenue. The possible addition of a trolley in conjunction with a parking structure.
These represent but a few of the ideas that have been discussed by the committee to date. How to pay for those improvements, whether through taxation, public/ private partnerships, metering or some other manner are all challenges which the committee is continuing to explore.
The Ad-Hoc Parking Committee will meet again on Wednesday, August 9 at 3 PM in Council Chambers to continue their discussions, and the public is welcomed to attend and participate.