Sarasota News Leader

11/09/2012

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CALMING THE STORM Space was left between some of the parking boxes on St. Armands to help pedestrians cross the street more easily. Photo by Norman Schimmel CITY'S PARKING MANAGER GETS LEEWAY TO LOOSEN RESTRICTIONS RECENTLY IMPOSED ON ST. ARMANDS, IN RESPONSE TO MERCHANTS' PLEAS By Stan Zimmerman City Editor Regular readers have watched this storm for weeks now, gathering spite and strength from the parking brouhaha along St. Armands Key. Yes, this is another parking fiasco, created when the City Commission "fixed" the last parking fiasco, which was created when it tried to remedy an earlier parking fiasco. The cycle has seemed unbroken. The new storm broke upon the Sarasota City Commission on Monday evening, Nov. 5, the day before Election Day. Regular readers are familiar with the woes: St. Armands customers driven away; piles of letters of complaint; statements such as "I'm never coming back"; residents who cannot park outside their residences because of vis- itors using the spaces. Call it a world of wor- ries in paradise. This started when the City Commission — un- der pressure — yanked the parking meters out of downtown Sarasota last year. The commis- sion then established a one-size-fits-all park- ing policy for the entire city. "This board was handed this problem and has stayed in crisis mode," said City Commission- er Paul Caragiulo on Nov. 5. "These are pretty scary numbers. It takes 2,700 citations month- ly to break even on parking enforcement."

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