Jacksonville Beach mayor seeks parking solutions

Published On: Feb 15 2013 01:17:34 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 15 2013 01:27:41 PM EST
Jacksonville Beach public parking sign
JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -

Whether you're a visitor or a resident of Jacksonville Beach, many agree parking can often be frustrating and solutions to parking problems at the beach have been a long time coming.

Mayor Charlie Latham says he's now making it his top priority and wants drivers' feedback.

Jax Beach resident Matt Parker says parking has been a problem for years.

"Overcrowded, tends to be on the weekends or sunny days," he said. "Nowhere to park, even in your own front yard."

The beach may be considered of small town of 22,000 residents, but it has more than 9 million visitors each year, which contributes to the parking issues.

Latham spoke with residents about those issues at the first of three parking workshops Wednesday night.

Residents say they want a validation system providing free parking for those who eat and shop at the beach, with the hope of building business.

Another suggestion is more public parking to keep visitors off private property.

"If someone's parking in your driveway and you're trying to go to work or just have your driveway open for your children to play, that's just not good," beach resident Kelly Beech said.

Residents also want free parking for those who live and pay taxes at the beach.

"We pay property tax to live here, and you know, we should have the right to park here and have the priority," Beech said.

The mayor hopes to hold two more parking meetings in the next few weeks seeking further input from those who live at and frequent the beach.