5-minute parking signs in SoHo, Hyde Park not enforceable

- Anyone who frequents South Howard or Hyde Park in Tampa has probably noticed the 5-minute parking limit signs in front of homes. The signs are meant to encourage most drivers to just keep on driving, or face a ticket. But now the state says those signs have to go.

When it comes to parking in South Tampa, "There’s very limited parking and it's tough," explained Ruth Adrian.

Residents in the area say they first found out police couldn't enforce their signs on the night before the Gasparilla Children’s Parade, and they aren't happy about the abundance of free parking in front of their homes.

"Tourists will take your spaces or regular shoppers so we have to circle around on the time," said Daniel Friedman.

"When we go out for errands or pick our kids up at school, we need the ability to park, and when there's large events going on, it's very difficult; sometimes impossible," explained Shawn Yuskaitis.

While you have to follow most of the roadway signs in the area, the Florida Department of Transportation has ruled you don't have to follow the 5-minute parking limit signs, which have been a staple of South Tampa lawns since 1989.

"We’ve had it for years. We paid for the sign," Mimi Conneely said.

Homeowners buy the signs themselves, and some are more decorative than others. They also call the police themselves if they find a violator, but after nearly three decades, FDOT says the 5-minute signs aren't enforceable.

"The state has very stringent guidelines as to what standards signs have to conform to and right now our program does not conform," explained Tampa City Councilman Henry Cohen.

Neighbors say they just want to be able to park in front of their own homes, so the Tampa City Council is trying to find a solution, but the remedy might be months away.

"We’re not going to allow these signs to be taken down and not come up with some new remedy for the problem," Cohen said. "We have a real situation down there and we are not ignoring them. We're waiting on the legal department to tell us what we can do so that we can move forward."

Tampa City Council will discuss its legal options for a parking solution. On the table are things like permits for neighborhood parking, or even FDOT-approved 5-minute limit signs. But as Councilman Cohen explained, those signs will be a lot less attractive and a lot more costly to homeowners.

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