Saturday, October 24, 2020

The Cost of Parking


File Photo

File Photo

For several years now, numerous organizations have been wrestling with the issue of parking on Marco Island. Most of that discussion has centered on restaurants, swales and overnight parking.

Following her election to the Marco Island City Council in 2016, Charlette Roman pushed for the establishment of an Ad Hoc Parking Advisory Committee. That five-person committee was established shortly afterwards, and it was to report to council at their November 6, 2017 meeting. That long-awaited report was postponed until the December 4th meeting due to scheduling issues when Robert Cholka, the committee’s chairman made his report to council.

The committee is comprised of Cholka, Joseph Oliverio, Jason Bailey, Amadeo Petricca and Maria Schilke. Pattie Ziesig has served as an alternate on the committee and has been a regular attendee at the meetings.

The charge of the committee consisted of the following: review island-wide parking issues, identify solutions to address future capacity and remedy deficiencies, and to develop a multi-phased plan for the next three to five years to facilitate budgeting solutions.

The committee split the island into zones and each member analyzed that zone and reported back to fellow members. The committee formulated recommendations, which were then prioritized. They relied on staff to estimate costs for those capital improvements.

Some of those items would have little or no cost, but others depend on city council action to provide the capital needed to move forward. Some discussions revolved around seasonal trolley routes, publicizing the free taxi services offered by restaurants, the addition of bike racks, the use of resident stickers, and the need to have alleyways cleaned up so they do not impede traffic flow.

Other solutions may involve the city floating a bond to make improvements to specific areas that the committee has identified. That bond would be in the area of $2.4 million dollars and be paid back over a 10-year period.

This plan would involve adding spaces, please see the chart on the continued to page noted below:

Costs vary due to construction requirements and the extent of proposed work, such as noise barriers, lighting, and specific types of materials to be used. Averaging the costs for the 211 spaces would work out to $11,374.41 per space.

The mechanism used to service those costs would have to be identified by city council. Some of those discussions have revolved around parking meters, special taxing districts, or higher property taxes.

Already, some residents are questioning the practicality of adding parking to areas such as Bayside Court. A new crosswalk connecting that area with the east side of Collier Boulevard has been established. Some question the safety aspect of adding more parking to that area, which they say is already heavily congested.

Council agreed to adopt the committee’s suggestion to continue the moratorium during the holiday period, which normally prevents parking on residential swales from 2 AM and 6 PM, and eased restrictions on parking across sidewalks from 8 PM and 6 AM. From 6 AM to 8 PM parking across residential sidewalks is strictly prohibited.

More discussions on the committee’s proposals will be considered, and the committee’s work will continue, rather than sunsetted as originally proposed.

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