Quarter fees and fines add up Dec. 14, story
Day-trippers can't dally downtown
I completely understand the need to "control" parking so that visitors might be assured a spot. On the other hand, the 11/2 hour limit that exists on Beach Drive in St. Petersburg is far too restrictive, particularly since the limits are enforced both day and evening, seven days a week.
One cannot browse the shops and have lunch in such a short period of time. A visit to the Museum of Fine Arts takes at least an hour and a half. After that, lunch at the museum's cafe or anywhere else in the area would be totally out of the question. After reading how this "parking enhancement" effort is building up the city's coffers, it makes me wonder if the short time allotted was a concerted effort to make an easy $25 from those daydreaming in front of a Monet.
Can we not extend the time period? Consider limiting the enforcement to weekdays? I had lunch at the MFA on Saturday, and there were plenty of metered parking spots available. The city states that they have had few complaints. I don't doubt that. No one complains. They just don't come downtown anymore.
Joyce Looney, St. Petersburg
Quarter fees and fines add up Dec. 14
2-hour limit, period
It's nice revenue for the city but very difficult for visitors and residents to understand the myriad parking regulations. It is no wonder people say it is too difficult to park in St. Petersburg (and I hear this quite often). Some parking meters are to 6 p.m., others to 9 p.m. and still others to midnight; some for one hour, 90 minutes or two hours; some Monday to Friday, and others all week!
The city wants to keep workers from parking all day so others can park and patronize downtown businesses, but these confusing regulations keep people from coming downtown because they don't understand all the variations in the rules. Why can't it be simplified so one can park for two hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday — period? If this were publicized well enough, I'm sure we would see more people downtown enjoying the shops, restaurants and events. And the city would still make money with the increased use of the meters.
James Studdiford, St. Petersburg
Let's make BayWalk a community meeting place for all, by inviting the different museums to set up kiosks or shops displaying or selling gift shop items or art pieces. Installation art pieces would be a hit.
Let's show our talents in music or drama by performing for the community. Let's invite authors to read and sign books in our coffee shop.
Let's show the Metropolitan Opera on HD at Muvico. (We could have a wine and cheese place for those intermissions.)
Let's show the old classic movies again. In the weeks before Christmas, I can see showing nonstop Christmas films with a wonderful Christmas shop for all to stop into — and maybe even have a coffee shop with hot chocolate. I can visualize an antique bookstore for all to browse and shop and reminisce.
Let's have a natural food restaurant for all those athletic triathletes. Let's do it, St. Pete!
Barbara Ervin, St. Petersburg
Battle for the bayou | Dec. 14, story
After reading the story about residents filing a lawsuit regarding Clam Bayou, I found myself standing on the eastern shore of Boca Ciega Bay imagining what this bay (off the beach of Gulfport) would look like today if it hadn't been dredged in the middle of the last century.
Once mangrove islands sprouted and spread on air-filtering legs on top of oyster bars that flourished, filtering toxins from our waters to ensure clean, clear water. Now there is an open bay that generates only a fraction of life that it could — had it not been dredged. Experts predict that Boca Ciega Bay may take 200 years to recover — if ever!
Looking inward toward Clam Bayou, however, one can see what could have been. Mangroves, mud flats, oyster bars, birds, fish, otters, gators and more — the life that an estuary breeds! Most people aren't aware that 1 cubic meter of Clam Bayou estuary mud contains enough worms and shellfish to equal the number of calories in 16 Snickers bars — the magic of life here! Also, a healthy, untended estuary produces from four to 10 times the weight of organic matter produced by a cultivated corn field of the same size. Dredge it out? I think not!
Water draining off the uplands carries a load of sediment and nutrients. As the water flows through salt marsh peat and the dense mesh of marsh grass blades, much of the sediment and nutrient load is filtered out. This filtration process creates cleaner and clearer water. Clam Bayou's magical mud flats are critical, crucial and magical — not to be "man"ipulated.
Kurt Zuelsdorf, Gulfport
It is a shame that handicapped parking rules are being violated many times daily. Sure, the auto has a handicapped hang-tag, but the drivers of more than 50 percent of these vehicles are not disabled. They drive into these parking spaces and take up the space that is reserved for a disabled person. I see this every day. These violators should be fined twice as much as someone without a handicapped hang-tag!
I have a son — a double amputee, service connected — who has a problem finding a place to park due to these dumbbells. I know that he is not the only disabled person who has this problem.
Why don't these people use some common sense? These spaces are reserved for the disabled person, not for the family unless you are transporting a disabled person!
Joe Slatton, St. Petersburg