CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – Officials in beach towns throughout the Tampa Bay area, including Clearwater Beach, are getting ready to be bombarded by students as we head in to Spring Break.
This year, officials are expecting record crowds. That’s because students from Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Sarasota Counties, as well as students from the University of South Florida have next week off.
City leaders in Clearwater Beach are making sure it’s going to be a safe Spring Break.
Police want everyone to know having booze on the beach is illegal and anyone who breaks the rules could face a $118 ticket.
There will also be extra lifeguards on duty. It’ll be twice the number during other times of the year.
“Well that’s one of the biggest things we ask them to do is swim near a lifeguard,” said Patrick Brafford, a Clearwater Beach lifeguard.
“That’s one of the biggest slogans we ask. We want you to swim near a lifeguard tower. Pay attention to the beach warning flags. Come up to the back of the tower and read the staff board and see what’s going on for the day and see if there are any special warnings or notices for the safety of the public.”
Clearwater police are also beefing up patrols for students during Spring Break and for people who live in the area.
Officials don’t want people darting across the streets and want to keep traffic moving, so they’ve made some road changes.
There used to be four main crosswalks around the main roundabout. Now, there are two. The city also added fences in the median.
“In the past couple of weeks we have installed fencing on the roads immediately off the roads closest to the roundabout,” said Jason Beisel of the city of Clearwater. “The reason we have done that is to keep people from crossing at places they shouldn’t be crossing. We also removed two crosswalks immediately north and south of the roundabout to keep traffic from not getting clogged up.”
Traffic and parking can be a nightmare on Clearwater Beach whether it be Spring Break or the rest of the year.
For parking, officials just opened up the Pelican Walk garage.
There’s also a ferry that takes you from downtown to the beach.
And lastly, the city has a partnership with the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. All you need to do is park your car downtown and get on the bus to the beach.
Clearwater Spring Break Transportation, Parking Options
Park & Ride
PSTA has launch its “Park & Ride” program. Visitors park in a low-cost or free designated downtown “Park & Ride” lot and then ride the trolley
to the beach for free. They will then pay a regular fare on the trolley, ferry, ride sharing service or Florida Free Rides to get back downtown. Those riding to the beach will be dropped off at the Clearwater Beach Marina. The “Park & Ride” program will operate throughout the spring break season, through April 30. Get all the information you need by visiting trafficsabeach.com.
Designated Park & Ride lots are:
- Harborview/Coachman (Ferry also accessible at this location). Parking is free, unless there is a special event in Coachman Park
- Clearwater City Hall (Osceola Avenue). Free parking thru April 30
- Garden Avenue Garage. Cost is 50 cents an hour up to a $5 maximum. Free parking after 6 p.m. and on weekends.
The Clearwater Ferry will be operating in full steam, adding extra boats to speed up wait times and get visitors back-and-forth between downtown and the beach faster. The ferry will be operating a separate vessel specifically for transporting Clearwater Beach employees to cut down on the amount of vehicles and traffic on the island. Get prices, travel times and drop-off and pick-up locations at clearwaterferry.com.
Clearwater Beach’s newest parking garage, the Pelican Walk Parking Garage, is also open offering more than 400 new parking spots for visitors. Cost of parking in the garage during the spring break season will be $2.00 an hour.
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