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City offers solution to historic building's parking woes



The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority's switch to a downtown grid bus stop system instead of centralizing stops at Williams Park has many fans, pleased with the prospect of returning the iconic park to its former glory.

After Thursday's St. Petersburg's City Council meeting, the new system might have gained a few more.

About 20 residents of the Flori De Leon over-55 co-op, 130 Fourth Ave. N showed up to protest a new bus stop in front of their historic building that Babe Ruth once called home. The bus stop had eliminated eight spaces, important to residents who live in a building without off-street parking.

But their worries soon evaporated. 

Evan Mory, the city's transportation director, said the southernmost lane on Fourth Avenue would be converted to angled parking, which would replace the lost spaces.

Mory said when he hears complaints, he tries to find solutions. In this case, he said, removing a traffic lane appears to be a good solution, considering the traffic patterns in the neighborhood.

The change is subject to engineering and planning reviews, he said.

Overall, PSTA and city officials said, the change is working well and proving popular. But they acknowledged such a sweeping change was bound to have some unintended consequences.

"Is the downtown grid perfect? Probably not," Mory said. 

Matthew Rosen, a resident who led the outcry, said he was pleasantly surprised and gratified by the city's quick response.

"It makes a lot of sense," Rosen said.

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