NAPLES, Fla. — As Naples continues to deal with issues stemming from its rapid growth, the city council is once again talking about what to do about its parking problem.
Back in February, council members discussed rules that would create more parking spaces downtown. At a workshop on Tuesday, the council said its going to take on parking issues that are clogging traffic in neighborhoods.
“I have driven around sometimes for over 40 minutes looking for a parking spot, especially during a weekend or in season,” said Naples resident Kim Bauer.
Bauer spoke with us while physically standing in a beach parking spot to save it for her husband.
Beach spaces are so hard to come by that traffic often spills into neighborhoods, which blocks the road, and police say can create big problems in an emergency.
“Fire apparatuses are no small feat to get through a small roadway,” said Naples Police Lt. Bryan McGinn. “And when you have cars on either side, it means you have to divert around, and it just causes delays.”
So Naples Police asked the city council to review the city’s parking ordinances.
Right now, street parking is allowed as long as there is 16 feet of roadway for traffic.
Vice Mayor Mike McCabe said the rules are problematic.
“As soon as you park on one side, you really no longer have a two-way street,” McCabe said. “If you park on both sides, then you only have a one-way street with two-way traffic.”
The police suggested eliminating all street parking, or limiting it to only one side of the street. However, police chief Tom Weschler said that could anger the people who live by the beach and want to park in front of their homes.
Bauer said that while parking is tough, she’s willing to deal with it to live in paradise.
“It’s beautiful to be down here, so you kind of put up with a little bit of the nonsense just to be down by the beach,” she said.
The city council agreed to look further into parking regulations. They hope to have public meetings on the issue in the fall, and have new parking rules in place by next season.