A parking garage is just one of a bunch of different ideas to be tossed around at a New Smyrna Beach City Commission workshop to discuss Flagler Avenue parking options this Tuesday.
NEW SMYRNA BEACH — What do residents think about tearing down the Coronado Island shuffleboard courts and constructing a foliage-filled, retail-based, multi-story parking garage on Flagler Avenue?
That’s among the ideas to be tossed around — and either considered, or discarded — at a City Commission workshop to discuss Flagler Avenue parking this Tuesday. Other possibilities include: constructing the garage on a different piece of land, gathering additional land for parking, adding metered parking spaces, or a trolley service.
The workshop starts at 4 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 210 Sams Ave., and will be followed by a Community Redevelopment Agency meeting and the regular City Commission meeting expected to begin at 6:30 p.m.
That’s a lot to pack into one day. While no votes are expected during the workshop, the staff is hoping at least a few items will be addressed, including whether to continue on another phase of the parking study, and whether to evaluate parking on a special event weekend — one of the main times parking is at a deficit.
[READ MORE: NSB ready for Flagler Ave.-area parking garage, but where?]
[READ MORE: New Smyrna Beach trolley volley: Who pays?]
The Flagler Avenue retail district, with its quaint mom-and-pop shops, beachy atmosphere and abundance of eateries, is one of the jewels of the city. It’s a destination district that draws people from East Central Florida. It’s also an area city residents and officials point to with pride.
But the parking? Not so much.
It is an issue New Smyrna Beach folks have visited and revisited in the past. The city created a Parking Systems Task Force back in 2012, which weighed some of the same options — a parking garage, trolley services, pay kiosks and one-way streets — to alleviate parking snarls on and around Flagler Avenue.
Since then, city staff has been working on solutions and conducted parking studies and polls.
Commissioners are expected to be filled in on the most recent analysis Tuesday and discuss the results.
Among the interactive polling data, taken during a community meeting at the Coronado Civic Center in February, results show that 97% of those who responded felt Flagler Avenue has a parking problem.
According to a parking study performed during two days in May 2019 by planning and engineering employees, the parking deficit really depends on when you are trying to park on and around Flagler Avenue.
The study found a total parking capacity count of 1,168 spaces in the district. That includes a restricted parking capacity of 715 spaces, and an unrestricted parking capacity of 453 spaces. During both study days, peak total percentage (occupancy per parking zone) ranged from 9% to 100%, according to the study.
“Perception is subjective and can influence how one views and defines issues such as a parking deficit,” the report states. “For example, peak hours for restricted parking on both days fall into, and reflect, what can be classified as typical lunch or dinner times; during these hours, there can be a perception of overcrowding in the area.
“However, one’s perception based on subjective experience does not reflect the objective parking capacity of the area, as it is not easily apparent because of its spatial and temporal nature. Staff posits that during an average weekend throughout the year, parking capacity is sufficient, but during holidays and special events, there is a parking deficit.”
How individuals feel the city should address Flagler Avenue parking is mixed.
A total of 56 people who responded to the polling question, “What strategy (or combination of strategies) do you think would be best to increase parking capacity in the Flagler Ave. area?” Of those who responded, 45% thought acquiring land for a parking garage would be best.
Another 27% thought acquiring land for surface parking would be best, and 16% felt constructing more on-street parking where feasible made sense. And 4% felt there isn’t a need to increase capacity.