Parking at Spotts Public Beach is about to get a lot safer. A new beach-side parking lot under construction means visitors will no longer have to park alongside Shamrock Road and cross four lanes of often busy traffic.
A lack of parking at Spotts Public Beach has been flagged as a significant safety issue in recent years.
The beach-side lot currently has a capacity of about six vehicles, but the new lot will increase that to over 30.
“The government felt a real sense of urgency to get it done, and there were many reports of close calls,” said Deputy Chief Officer of the Ministry of Planning Tristan Hydes. “For tourists in particular, it was much more dangerous.”
Mr. Hydes said work started on the new parking lot last week with the National Roads Authority clearing bush, digging out old sand and applying chip and spray.
Government expects it to open for public use next week. The project is estimated to cost around $85,000.
Mr. Hydes said a crosswalk was not feasible given Shamrock Road’s high-capacity.
The area’s white sandy beach and a local population of sea turtles make it a popular destination for both locals and tourists.
Mr. Hydes said the parking lot is just the beginning of big changes to Spotts Public Beach.
New toilet facilities are being planned, as well as a cabana and turtle-friendly lighting.
“The little beach will be re-designed and we felt there was a real urgency to getting a parking lot there, so the first phase was to put in the parking lot immediately because, obviously, of the situation with crossing Shamrock Road,” said Mr. Hydes.
He also noted that government was sensitive the area’s most popular residents – sea turtles – and nearby home owners.
“We negotiated an agreement with them where it would only be the new parking lot and no lighting on the beach to disrupt the turtles that lay eggs in the area, or homeowners in the area,” Mr. Hydes explained.