Parking problems in paradise

Posted at 10:48 PM, Mar 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-23 06:27:29-04
Trying to find a parking spot in the fishing community of Matlacha can be tough!  Even the owners of local businesses and restaurants say the struggle is real.
Our team watched a steady stream of cars head to the island Tuesday afternoon..

"Not just the traffic getting there. It is when you get there where do you find a place to park? If you do you have to pay to park. Fortunately here we don't have any paid parking, but it is just as frustrating if you can't find a spot," said Bruce Pitts, the owner of Island Cafe on the Bay.

There are two different kinds of 'No Parking' signs on the island. Normal 'No Parking' signs and others warning ''No Parking on Pavement' ones.' 

"As long as all four wheels of the car are on the grass and there is a pretty wide median strip there that they can use, than the sheriff is fine with that," said Pitts.

But what isn't fine is when people decide to park in illegal ways.   It adds to the congestion out there and problems for pedestrians. 

"Well sometimes somebody will stop and let you across but most of the time, I've seen wait twenty or thirty minutes to get across the street from one side to the other," said Jim Ryan, who fishes often in Matlacha.

People who have been living here for a while have gotten used to it. 

"It is something we have to live with and basically it is just in the season that we really have the problem," said Marty Yeatter.

But Pitts might have a solution to the problem. He thinks local businesses should try and see if a trolley system could be the answer.  He likens it to transportation systems in Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach.

But in the meantime, Matlacha residents and tourists just have to be a little patient. 

"Hang in there January, February, March will be over soon," said Yeatter.