By Marc Crail Mount Dora Vice Mayor Our March 7th. City Council Work Session was held to discuss the age old topic of parking. I'm reporting from my own perspective and not on behalf of Mount Dora City Council. I'm in my 7th. year on Council and parking has always a major concern. As with most things, there are no easy answers and every suggestion rankles someone or some group. The costs of adding parking spaces is quite high adding to the dilemma.
Here are some numbers regarding downtown parking:
We have about 137 on-street parking spots in the "core area" and 260 "fringe area spots. 397 all together.
We have 62 parking lot spots in the "core" and 305 in the "fringe". That's 367 all together.
Adding in handicapped spaces, electric car spaces, etc. there are 211 "core" spots and 591 "fringe"spots. 802 in total.
We are currently about 400 spaces short of meeting our needs.
There are 8 loading zones (7 a.m. to 11 a.m.) and some scattered 15 minute spaces.
A few years ago we implemented 4 hour parking and removed over 100 unnecessary signs.
A couple of years ago we added 49 parking spaces in the grass lot near 3rd. Ave. and Baker plus a set of public restrooms.
There seemed to be consensus that we might be able to add about 17 additional on street spaces on either side of 3rd. Ave between McDonald and Alexander on property already owned by the City and 3 more on W. 7th Ave. between N. Donnelly and N. Alexander near the former Post Office. City staff was asked to work on costing out those possibilities and reporting their findings back to Council.
We had some discussion about changing from our current 4 hour parking limit to 2 or 3 hour parking. We also discussed getting figures on the costs and benefits of paid parking. Another topic that was discussed was the possible use of autonomous shuttles to bring visitors to the center of town from "fringe" parking areas.
These "Work Sessions" are for discussion purposes and don't include voting but they allow us to discuss and ask questions since they are public meetings. I find them useful and worthwhile.
Our quote for the day reminds me of the plight of the unfortunate, innocent people of Ukraine who have been brutally attacked when they were simply minding their own business and harming no one. The quote is from Rudy Francisco. "She asks me to kill the spider. Instead, I get the most peaceful weapons I can find. I take a cup and a napkin. I catch the spider, put it outside and allow it to walk away. If I am ever caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, just being alive and not bothering anyone, I hope that I am greeted with the same kind of mercy."
By Marc Crail Mount Dora Vice Mayor
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