Friday, November 24, 2017
Transportation

Consultant finds reported parking problems aren't so bad in downtown Palm Harbor

RECOMMENDED READING


Finding parking in downtown Palm Harbor can be a challenge during special events, but a study by King Engineering showed that most of the time, parking is not as tough as some residents reported.

"We now know there is not a parking problem in the historic district in Palm Harbor,'' said County Commissioner Susan Latvala after King Engineering's presentation at Tuesday's commission workshop. "I hope this puts the issue to rest.''

Parking in the district, bounded on the west by Alt. U.S. 19 and on the east by County Road 1, became a point of debate more than a year ago, when county commissioners were considering amending the zoning code to allow property owners to use transfers of density so a business could expand in the historic district.

At several town hall meetings, residents said that if regulations were loosened and density transfers were allowed, parking would become a problem, particularly for small businesses and their customers.

In February, after lengthy debate, the County Commission decided to hire an outside firm for about $25,000 to study parking in the district.

King Engineering evaluated parking trends and patterns, sending crews out on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays to observe which parking spaces were the busiest and when.

They found:

• On a typical Tuesday, parking spaces are busiest about 4 p.m. "This is when both the restaurants are getting busy and people are still in their offices,'' said Sandra Gorman of King Engineering. However, even at that time, the maximum occupancy for parking was only 49 percent.

• On Friday prior to 5 p.m. along Florida Avenue, the average amount of time a parking space was in use was about 45 minutes.

• On Saturday after 9 p.m. along Florida Avenue near 11th Street — the area Gorman dubbed restaurant row — parking usage was close to capacity, while in the other areas of the district on a typical Saturday, parking needs peaked at 9 p.m. at about 32 percent capacity.

• Because of a lack of signage, many visitors don't know where public parking is located. Gorman pointed out that this is the case at White Chapel/Harbor Hall. Its public parking area rarely filled to capacity. "It's under-used for public parking,'' she said.

After presenting the findings, Gorman shared a list of recommendations with commissioners. It included considering making Florida Avenue a two-hour maximum parking zone to help with future development; creating a way to promote shared parking, since office and retail/restaurant uses tend to have opposing peaking characteristics; and creating better signage throughout the district to lead motorists to public parking.

County commissioners unanimously approved a motion for the planning department to draw up parking code changes for the Old Palm Harbor Downtown District. Those changes will be discussed at a County Commission meeting early next year.

Piper Castillo can be reached at (727) 445-4163 or [email protected] To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

Comments
Dr. Delay: Pinellas traffic officials to tweak signals near Largo Mall

Dr. Delay: Pinellas traffic officials to tweak signals near Largo Mall

The Largo Mall entrance stoplight on Ulmerton Road just east of Seminole Boulevard has been causing traffic delays on eastbound Ulmerton at Seminole Boulevard. It appears that the light at the Largo Mall entrance is being triggered on-demand by folks...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/22/17
FDOT considers transit, other options for improving Fowler Avenue in USF area

FDOT considers transit, other options for improving Fowler Avenue in USF area

TAMPA — A new study eventually could lead to better traffic flow on Fowler Avenue while offering a variety of transportation options.The $500,000 study, to take up to 18 months, focuses on the University Area and the University of South Florida. It ...
Published: 11/19/17
Updated: 11/24/17
Mother reconciles with Plant City DMV employee who made her stand outside with baby

Mother reconciles with Plant City DMV employee who made her stand outside with baby

PLANT CITY — After Liz Gately was told to wait outside the Plant City’s Tax Collector office to renew her car registration with her 1-year-old last week, the internet fought back. Facebook posts from Gately, 27, as well as bystanders and other mother...
Published: 11/16/17
Holiday events begin, annual traffic snarls follow

Holiday events begin, annual traffic snarls follow

A few favorite holiday events are gearing up and that means impact to traffic, starting with the annual Times Turkey Trot, which will temporarily close streets Thanksgiving morning in Clearwater beginning at 6 a.m. until approximately noon. The follo...
Published: 11/15/17
Moms with infants told to wait outside Plant City DMV

Moms with infants told to wait outside Plant City DMV

PLANT CITY — Liz Gatley needed to renew her car registration. As if that task wasn’t cumbersome enough, she says a Department of Motor Vehicles manager told her she had to wait outside until she could be served because her 1-year-old daughter was wit...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/11/17
The Cross Bay Ferry won’t come back this fall. What about 2018?

The Cross Bay Ferry won’t come back this fall. What about 2018?

Still waiting for the Cross Bay Ferry to return? It’s going to be a while — say, 2018 at the earliest.The ferry’s supporters, most notably St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, had hoped to bring the boat back for another season after the first six-mon...
Updated one month ago

Work on Sunshine Skyway’s rest areas to last two more years

We often go fishing near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and are wondering what’s happening with the rest area and parking lot? It looks like there’s work going on there. How long will the rest area be closed off?Mike WalkerThis is a state Department of T...
Published: 11/09/17
Updated: 11/13/17
Hillsborough loses transit leader Katharine Eagan to a better funded agency

Hillsborough loses transit leader Katharine Eagan to a better funded agency

TAMPA — Katharine Eagan, the leader of Hillsborough County’s transit agency, is leaving the job just a month after implementing a widespread overhaul of the county’s bus network.She will take over as CEO of the Port Authority of Allegheny, Pa., which...
Updated one month ago
Speakers give mixed reviews to new Hillsborough bus-route overhaul

Speakers give mixed reviews to new Hillsborough bus-route overhaul

TAMPA — Hillsborough’s transit agency heard its first public comment Monday since overhauling its bus network and cutting about 20 percent of its routes last month.A handful of people spoke at the agency’s board meeting, with one praising the new net...
Updated one month ago
New DOT work plan includes $32 million for U.S. 41/SR 54 interchange

New DOT work plan includes $32 million for U.S. 41/SR 54 interchange

LAND O’LAKES — Twenty-one months ago, the Florida Department of Transportation said it was hitting the brakes on planning improvements at a traffic-clogged intersection in central Pasco.Instead, the DOT said it would await recommendations from Pasco ...
Updated one month ago