This may surprise you. In 1970 Manatee County had 97,000 people total. In 2010 we had 323,000. Our population has tripled.
The Manatee Public Beach has 400 parking spaces; Coquina Beach, 1,600 spaces. We can't all go to the public beach.
Most popular beach communities have paid parking, including St. Petersburg and Siesta Key. I would suggest free parking at Coquina as a solution to relocating the current craziness on Holmes Beach.
The island residential population has declined by 21 percent in just the last 10 years. The over-building on duplex lots into two separate six-bedroom rentals has added to the problem. Drive by and count the cars at each one of these so-called half-duplex units. There are frequently four to six cars per half duplex.
They are sold as investment rentals. There has been, by some counts, 100 of these built, or 200 units total. That means there could be up to an additional 1,000 cars per week on the island.
The island is only seven miles long and two miles wide, and Holmes Beach is a much smaller land area (1.7 square miles). We just can't fit more people into such a small space.
Paid parking hits everyone equally and is how most beach resort towns solve the problem. Sorry, but it isn't 1970 anymore and a tripling of our population means we have to change how it all works.
It should also mean that rental units should have to be able to park tenants vehicles on site, not on streets. Nobody owes rental investors free parking.