Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Parking Questions

At the City Managers blog, under the topic of the State Baseball Tournament, a number of posters are asking questions about Monday's latest parking deal give away. This time the commissioners agreed (again) with the developers of Pineapple Square and the DTP to give the First Street lot (across from the City Hall parking lot) to private interests - the Isaac Brothers group. John Simon said this will only work if the lot is in private control.

I guess this means that there is not much need for the public retaining public property and managing it for the public good. Apparently the Isaacs and John Simon now determine what is best for the city.

Recently we have seen many examples of the commissioners not listening to citizens and we concluded that these commissioners believed they knew what is best for the rest of us. Now it turns out that the Isaacs and John Simon apparently know even better what's best for us.

So how well does private control of public parking work?

On Saturday at about 2 PM I took visitors to Bayfront Park to see the Season of Sculpture exhibit. There were no empty parking spaces in the entire bayfront lot (excepting that under Marina Jacks control) and there were at least 20 cars circling around looking for places. I finally parked across 41, near Ringling.

Meanwhile the parking spaces reserved for Marina Jacks were less than half full. In their parking area was an empty flat bed trailer, a car covered with "custom dust cover" and a number of trash bins with trash strewn around. Further, at the south end of this restricted parking area was a saw horse across half of the parking entry way that said "LeBarge Parking Only".

Isn't it nice that the citizens who pay for this park and the parking area are excluded so that a car can be stored long term under a cover, someone can store a trailer there, Marina Jacks has a close by area for trash storage and they don't bother closing the lids or pick up trash blown around, and parkling can now be saved for LeBarge customers. The lease calls for some level of parking for the restaurant. These uses are ridiculous - especially when citizens cannot find parking spots yet many are open behind threatening signs.

We do not need any more private control of public parking! And we do not need a 20 year lease extension with Marina Jack that will give us 42 more years of this nonsense!


Anonymous said...

The parking conditions at the bay side area is ridiculus!! Large expanses of parking remain open all the time in the area cordoned off by the Marina Jacks and the LeBarge half of the parking lot- while cars can't find enough parking elsewhere. Somethings got to give- this is aggravating to even drive over there.....

Anonymous said...

Where has all the parking gone?
The City Commissioners have given it away.
Marina Jack, as you mentioned, has a wealth of parking!
The former city owned State Street parking lot has been given away...permanently, while the city will BUY 350 spaces that may last 80 years.
State Street from Lemon to Pineapple has been given away with at least 10 stories of air space, and 15 parking spaces.
The city owned First Street lot has an uncertain future...
Lemon Avenue from State Street to Fruitville has lost more than 20 spaces.
And the answer? More parking garages!

gulfer said...

The 20 year lease extension should be more thoroughly reviewed as to the best interest of the City, particularly due to the location and also in conjuntion with future consideration of the submerged lands leases. Development has been the major topic in Sarasota for quite some time.
However, internal operations of the City should be reviewed as well. There are ways to be more efficent and it does not appear that internal operations have ever been streamlined or reviewed. I hope the Commission reviews last years goals and objectives of its departments and asks some tough questions as to what has actually been accomplished. I hope they look at consolidating some departments that don't seem to add value and could either be consolidated or eliminated. I hope they look at other communities and operations to see how outsourcing of certain functions is working. As an example, and maybe there is some explanation not readily visible but why would it take three managers in General Services, two to three managers in Finance and a bunch of Administrative personnel to dispose of $125,000 in assets. Why would we create a position for this function when Procurement personnel have this knowledge as a part of their coursework, which is required to keep their jobs. We create a position not requiring cetificiation in this function, nor coursework,nor any requirement for future coursework to keep the job and pay it two grades higher then those with the knowledge. Yet, they weren't eligible to apply. If the Manager's budget message is correct it appears that management oversight of the Auditoriums would be with the Municpal Auditorium Manager. Makes sense. Yet, this new position has that function with this position. If the intent was consolidation the manager's message made sense. To have a manager for the Payne Park Auditorium does not. What is the concession value that this individual manages? This is just one example. Maybe if questions are asked it will be explained. But, just on the surface it does not appear to be the best use of staff or funds, particularly when the City has lost some good planners.