NewsPinellas County


Parking Woes impacts Clearwater Beach businesses, staffing shortages

Parking Woes impacts Clearwater Beach businesses staffing shortage
Posted at 4:58 PM, Apr 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-26 18:54:29-04

CLEARWATER, Fla. — It's a place millions of people venture to to find a moment of zen, but parking at Clearwater Beach can be anything but zen-like.

Especially for those like Abby Tobar who work on the beach.

"Sometimes we are late to work because we are struggling to find parking so that's kind of a big deal for us," Tobar said.

Tobar has worked on Clearwater Beach for four years.

When she started her job, she could find parking for free, but now she said she's lucky if she even finds a spot and she has to pay for it.

Every day she parks her car for work she has to pay $8 and that's a deal thanks to her employer's agreement with a nearby hotel.

Steve Weeks is the manager at Crabby's Restaurant where Tobar works. He said to try to take the pressure of parking off employees the restaurant has allotted a certain number of parking spots about a block away.

"We pay them for a roll of parking passes and our employees can go and park in the garage there," Weeks said. "They buy a parking pass from us at cost and get out at a discounted rate."

Weeks said potential employees have passed on working at the restaurant because of the parking situation.

Jeremy Alleshouse is the Parking Manager for the city of Clearwater. He said he understands the frustration and concerns from those visiting and working at the beach.

"The demand seems to have outpaced our current supply," Alleshouse said.

To help alleviate costs, the city has created a program that allows employees on the beach to purchase a $40 parking pass that is valid for unlimited parking each month.

There are other parking options, but they come with added time it will take to get to the beach.

"We have provided free parking here on the downtown side," Alleshouse said. "We have partnered with the PSTA and the Jolly Trolly. Also, there is the ferry that runs. So, folks can park on this side of the causeway for free get on one of those services and be shuttled over there."

The city also continues to work with developers to allot public parking in their garages when they build.

For employees like Tobar, they said the money they make at the beach offsets the headache of the parking shortage.

For more information about parking at Clearwater Beach, click here.