No Parking Signs Go Up for Safety's Sake
By Anne McKay Garris
Nevermind that the swarm of cars parked in the North Clearwater Beach residential community during Spring Break are a nuisance, with occupants leaving their trash behind, abusing the adjacent lawns and other unsocial activities, it's also dangerous, according to Police Lieutenant Joe Young.
"Due to Spring Break crowds, the amount of parking, illegal and otherwise, has become a public safety problem," said Lt. Young, "It was time for an emergency decision." Fully aware of the impact the no parking signs would have on the residents of the community, he added, "This is a temporary solution," thereby indicating that he was concerned about the issues addressed at last week's meeting of the Clearwater Beach Association.
Association members talked about alleviating the inconvenience to the residents, not able to park in front of their houses, or welcome visitors there because of the signs. They also reported near misses on already narrow streets, which became one lane, sometimes less than one, and the threat of damage to vehicles trying to use the streets. There was universal agreement that most Spring Break drivers left their trash behind for others to pick up and treated residents with contempt.
The idea of a "resident's sticker" to be used by homeowners so they could park in front of their homes would have to be considered carefully and would take time to put in place, according to Lt. Young, and the need for no parking signs was immediate.
The morning after a vigorous discussion at the Clearwater Beach Association board of directors meeting, the no parking signs were posted on one side of Bruce Avenue. "No parking between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M.," they read. The plan is to put similar signs on one side of all the streets on the North Beach, both east and west and north and south.
The first visitor to park on Bruce Avenue in violation of the No Parking signs was kindly advised by the owner of the adjoining property that the signs were now up and he was liable to get a ticket. The young man and his friend chose to ignore the warning and left the car while they went to the beach. When they returned to find a parking ticket on their car, they cleared their car of a considerable amount of trash; six plastic bottles, 4 plastic cups, and other assorted items; dumping it onto the lawn of the property owner, even tossing one half-full bottle of soda onto the lawn.
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