Sarasota parking woes may diminish with new meters, garage opening this month

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Trying to find a parking space on St.Armand's Circle in Sarasota, Florida can be described as white-knuckle driving. 

"It can be pretty nerve-wracking because when you think you can back up into a spot, somebody pulls up right behind you so you lose your spot," said Anita Schweinsburg. 

The city has made changes that'll soon help visitors like Schweinsburg. 

The city of Sarasota's parking manager, Mark Lyons said new parking meters will go live at the end of the month, once a new parking garage opens up.

"Meters help open up spaces and make more spaces available for those who are willing to pay," said Lyons. 

The garage will add an additional 500 parking spots to St.Armands. It'll cost .50 cents an hour to park. 

Outside of the garage, parking ranges from .75 cents to $1.50 an hour. 

There are still 180 free spaces just a block or two away. 

"The cars that you see out there are just searching for a parking space so if you can make more spaces available, create more turnover where people will want to park, then you get more opportunity for people to be there and enjoy the area," said Lyons. 

A couple of miles down the road in Sarasota County, that idea is still up for debate. County commissioners are considering a plan to use paid parking on Siesta Key as a way to alleviate traffic congestion. 

While it's just one option county commissioners are considering, next month's meeting is bound to draw in a lot of residents with their own opinions. 

"I think it would really be unfortunate because it’s such a beautiful beach that everybody has access to and people come from the mainland and even further east and it’s nice to have a place for everyone to come," said Alison Elizalde. 

Sarasota County will hold the special meeting on February 27.