Treasure Island considers illegal parking crackdown

Another Pinellas County beach community is cracking down on drivers violating parking rules. First, it was St. Pete Beach, and now Treasure Island could increase fines.

Hassan Salami built a house in Treasure Island and moved in six months ago.

He says his neighbors are great and he loves being so close to Sunset Beach. However, parking is a major issue on the residential streets.

"It’s just beautiful, you know, I love it," said Salami. "I know a lot of people love Sunset Beach, but especially during the weekend and holidays, it's just impossible, traffic is jammed, and people park pretty much everywhere."

Locals say beach-goers clog the roadways, park on top of landscaping, block driveways, and park on the sidewalks.  

"As the day goes on, you can't find parking pretty much anywhere here, so it's very difficult and time-consuming," Fred Langan said,

No-parking signs are posted at numerous homes and thousands of citations are handed out each year. 

Right now, most tickets come with a $30 to $40 fine, but the Treasure Island Police chief says that’s not stopping people.

"What we've seen is an uptick in repeat offenders, people who come to Treasure Island and consider a $30 parking ticket as a matter of occurrence for coming to the beach for a day," Chief Armand Boudreau said.

To cut down on the violations, city leaders want to give parking tickets more bite by doubling the fines.  That means drivers could have to pay up to $90 for each citation.

The city's parking fines haven't increased for at least 15-years and leaders think doubling the penalty will lead to fewer violations.

"We're a small city, we shouldn't see violations at 5,000 a year for parking violations for such a small city,” Boudreau said. “We're trying to reduce that, we're trying to get people to do what they're supposed to do."

A public hearing about the proposed increased parking fines is being held at Tuesday’s Treasure Island City Commission meeting.  A second hearing is set for September 18.          

If approved, the changes will go into effect October 1.