Letters to the Editor, March 22
Restaurant parking impact
The parking proposal for the proposed 268-patron restaurant at 1202 Bald Eagle demonstrates just why there is a parking problem here on Marco Island. Having only 25 on-site parking spaces is less than one space per every 10 people – and that doesn’t include about 50 employees.
Counting 12 nearby spaces already used at times by other restaurant patrons doesn’t really add spaces. Closing Marek’s to use its kitchen and 28 parking spaces only adds to the traffic problem. Valet parking will add six trips between locations – not two. And, who knows how much traffic will be added transporting food from Marek’s to the new restaurant.
Even though people may share a table, most will come two to a car and meet their friends on-site. So, 268 patrons and 50 employees mean 160 parking spaces – not 65 plus 5 boat slips, one bike rack and one recycle container as proposed.
This problem exists because a previous City Council allowed the parking to patron ratio to increase. That resulted in many restaurants increasing their patron capacity without having to increase their parking. Now we have parking problems around most restaurants on Marco Island.
In Old Marco, Marek’s got the home next door, to the left, expanded and converted from a fine dining restaurant to a Bistro – without increasing its parking except for paving a few spaces along the street. Many other restaurants also expanded resulting in the parking along the side of the road.
So, what does the future hold? Well, another restaurant owner announced he has bought another piece of property on Bald Eagle in Old Marco for a future restaurant. And, a parking garage is rumored for the Marek’s site. A parking garage makes sense since the new restaurant controls the Marek’s site and demand for valet parking will surely exceed the 28 spaces currently available. And, shuttle service to the beach could be offered during the daylight hours to help pay for the structure.
In the meantime, the city will have a new traffic study completed. Bald Eagle has been reported to be a “D” and the increased traffic including the food transfer and valet service seem problematic. The city also needs to look at how this proposal was processed since many requirements of the city’s comprehensive plan and other requirements may have been missed. Pedestrian safety, the character and quality of the neighborhood, the future development of surrounding properties, potential parking problems for neighboring properties, the distance of adjacent parking, a need for a current traffic analysis, and utility capacities are some of the considerations that may have been missed.
Paradise is being challenged – and not only in residential neighborhoods!
Bill Flasche, Marco Island
Support NCH cardiac care center
It is my belief that the NCH petition for a special hospital district that will allow for the construction of a comprehensive cardiac care institute is well warranted.
This is an essential area of health care, one in which minutes can be critical to recovery, or even survival. Having the full resources of a state-of-the-art heart center in a centralized location closest to the residents most likely to use it makes great sense.
And, because the project consists of a single building in the footprint of an existing structure, its impact on the surrounding neighborhood will be minimal.
Dolly Bodick Korest, Naples