Victory | January 04 2012
South Padre Island's Gulf Blvd. has had inadequate parking for public beach access that is required by the Texas Open Beaches Act for over a decade. The South Texas Chapter has been advocating and fighting for increased public beach parking opportunities for over 3 years. Congestion has been getting worse and worse over the past several years because of an increase in population of the Rio Grande Valley and their desire to visit the beach. In an attempt to "control" this situation, SPI City Council attempted to implement a paid parking program under AMPCO to "control" this congestion and "encourage" the visitors to park remotely away from the area and be shuttled in or walk or go to the county parks. The South Texas Chapter opposed this plan because it would have limited access to over 2 miles of beach and the revenue would have almost entirely gone to AMPCO instead of the beach maintenance fund which is mandated by Texas Law. The City Council rejected the paid parking plan after the South Texas Chapter was able to gain support of other groups and residents on South Padre Island. The Council formed a Gulf Blvd. Action Group which included the South Texas Chapter to come up with a solution that addressed increased and safer parking, private property protection and pedestrian safety. The Group came up with a plan that would realign Gulf Blvd. and use the entire Right of Way instead of only the small portion currently used by the city. this included taking back sections that had been encroached upon by property owners to add sidewalks and increase parking by trading parallel parking for diagonal end in parking. This plan would be carried out in phases over the next 4-5 years. On January 4th, 2012 the SPI City Council approved and funded phase I.
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