Preserve's popularity brings parking problem
|Parked cars lined up on the north side of State Road 64/Manatee Avenue near the back entrance to Robinson Preserve have local officials concerned. Islander Photo: Lisa Neff|
Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore’s Blackberry contained the evidence.
The rising popularity of Robinson Preserve in west Manatee is creating a parking problem near the back entrance to the park on Manatee Avenue/State Road 64. And Whitmore’s Blackberry contained photographs of cars lined up on the right of way and on the small bridge on Perico Island near the back gate to the preserve.
The county and the Florida Department of Transportation, which has oversight of the road, must work on resolving the safety hazard, Whitmore said.
An option might be to post a sign directing drivers to park at the nearby Palma Sola Causeway beach area, according to Keith Bettcher of the county’s natural resources department.
Bettcher said many of the people going into the preserve through the Manatee Avenue gate are walkers, joggers and bicyclists who shouldn’t mind traveling from the causeway parking area to the entrance.
Bettcher also said the county plans to create a shell parking area at the Perico Preserve area located west of the Robinson entrance on Manatee Avenue.
Islanders headed for Robinson could park at the Perico Preserve and walk or ride to the back gate, Bettcher said.
“We just didn’t know where we were supposed to park,” said Yvonne Little of Perico as she and her children approached the back entrance for a morning walk into the preserve. “It’s not really clear to me that you can’t park here.”
“When there’s a line of cars, you assume it’s OK,” said Brandon Parker, of Holmes Beach, who likes to kayak in the preserve. “Do they tow?”
The parking issue likely will come up at the next meeting of the Palma Sola Scenic Highway Corridor Management Entity group, which will take place at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, at the county building in Bradenton.