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Redington Shores eyes parking issue
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Photo courtesy of MARYBETH HENDERSON
On-street parking has become a problem in the Atoll Avenue and Lee Avenue neighborhood, hindering accessibility by emergency vehicles. A new law eliminates parking on both sides of Lee Avenue, and on the south side of 177th Terrace West, 178th Avenue West and Atoll Avenue.
REDINGTON SHORES – Parking in the town of Redington Shores’ residential areas west of Gulf Boulevard has presented a dilemma.

Public parking space is virtually nonexistent in the area, with the exception of a lot between 177th Terrace and 178th Avenue West on Gulf Boulevard. The neighborhood is near the Gulf and is popular with beachgoers, and although most residents have driveways, those having visitors over or parties need space for additional parking.

Current town rules allow parking on both sides of Lee Avenue, 177th Terrace, 178th Avenue and Atoll Avenue. But the streets are narrow, and the parking demands have grown, especially with the installation of new dune walkovers, which have made the beach more attractive. A dangerous situation has resulted, with emergency vehicles unable to get through at times.

The commission took action to address the issue at a workshop session on April 30 and the May 14 town commission meeting. At the workshop, Commissioner MaryBeth Henderson, who represents the area, said complaints had been received regarding the parking on Lee Avenue and resulting safety issues.

Henderson proposed allowing no parking at all on Lee Avenue and banning parking on the south side of 177th Terrace West, 178th Avenue West, and Atoll Avenue. Coral and Beach avenues already have no-parking designations, she pointed out.

The commission unanimously passed a resolution adopting Henderson’s recommendation at the May 14 regular meeting.

The solution did not go far enough for Ramona Wright, who lives on the corner of Lee and Atoll. Wright wanted a parking ban on both sides of Atoll Avenue.

“I have pictures of cars parked on both sides of Atoll,” she said. “Fire trucks and ambulances cannot get through.”

Also, trucks trying to turn have knocked down the stop sign at Lee and Atoll, and pilings in front of her home are knocked down regularly, Wright said.

Commission members were reluctant to prohibit street parking throughout the area. Commissioner Tom Kapper said that would leave residents without any parking at all.

“We don’t have enough parking in the town to close these streets (to parking),” said Commissioner Lee Holmes.

Mayor Bert Adams told Wright he thought the new regulations would solve her problems. She disagreed.

Resident Ed Coppock said some public parking is needed.

“We do have to park on the street when we have visitors,” he said.

Coppock wanted overnight parking allowed for residents at the public lot at 178th Avenue West.

Kapper said the public parking lot issue should be discussed further.

“That whole area has no room to park,” he said. Adams said the topic would be brought up at an upcoming workshop.

Controversy over parking is not new to the area. In 2007, the commission decided in a 3-2 vote to ban parking on 176th Avenue West and around the corner on Lee to the first driveway. A total parking ban on the two streets had been put in place earlier, which prompted an outcry from residents. Police officials had complained that emergency vehicles could not make turns or get through the streets due to parked vehicles.

Henderson said the parking situation has worsened in recent months. “It’s just gotten crazy,” she said.
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