Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Parking Up the Wrong Tree

What follows is an open letter to Alderpersons Rios, Mills and Money:

First of all, I would like to thank you all for devoting so much time to the affairs of our town. Having spent much time in the company of a former alderman, I know this is a thankless job for which you receive much grief, some of which I suppose I am about to dish out.

There is still time to change your vote before the second reading of the parking changes ordinance, and I am asking for just a moment of your time to consider the attached photo. It was shot this morning - a Wednesday in July - at about 7:30 AM at beach access #15 - the one immediately adjacent to Las Dunas. This is a newer complex that was built when the ordinance required 2 parking spaces per unit.

You will note that there is not a single available parking space. You will have to take my word for the fact that there were no day-trippers lounging on the beach at that hour. Clearly, this public beach access parking area is being utilized by the guests and residents of Las Dunas. This is not at all unusual - I walk through this access almost every single morning with my dog and I can tell you that during the summer it is almost always completely filled with Las Dunas vehicles. Now just imagine if this complex had created only 1.5 spaces for its residents -- their cars would undoubtedly be packed into the few remaining spaces along Gulf Blvd, leaving no room for anyone else who might want to actually access the beach from here.

As a person who does not live on the beach and must utilize the public beach accesses; as a person who makes her living on the beach utilizing the public parking; as a person who (long ago) lived up the valley but escaped to the island every opportunity she had where she gratefully utilized public parking areas before and after spending money at local businesses -- I am begging you to reconsider your vote on this matter. You can still prove that you are not in the pocket of Big Development; you can still redeem yourself.

Lucinda “sandy feet” Wierenga

Update: I have been notified that the cars parked in access #15 most likely belong to the guests and residents of Seabreeze, the complex on the other side of the beach access. My apologies for casting aspersions on Las Dunas. Either way, there still isn't enough parking spots.

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