UPDATE JULY 5, 2019:
TEMPORARY MEASURES ARE WORKING WELL ALONG THE FILLS
AND WILL HELP GUIDE THE DEVELOPMENT OF A LONG-TERM PLAN
Parking control measures along the Fills between Upper and Lower Matecumbe Keys were a success on the July 4th holiday. Village staff manned the Indian Key boat ramp parking lot and other parking areas to direct people to permitted parking spots and let people know when the parking was full.
Sheriff's Officers were on duty throughout the day to provide additional parking control and enforcement along the entire stretch of the Fills.
The controlled parking, extra trash cans and portable toilets improve safety and enjoyment of the area and will reduce environmental damage caused by overuse.
These temporary measures will help to guide the Village in the development of a long-term plan for the appropriate level of parking and recreational space at Indian Key Fill and all areas of the Fills. We appreciate all the support we are receiving during this process.
RELEASE JUNE 28, 2019:
TEMPORARY PARKING PLAN IN PLACE TO CONTROL NUMBERS, WASTE AND EROSION AT THE FILLS
VEHICULAR ACCESS WILL BE ALLOWED AT MARKED PARKING AREAS ONLY
For those not already familiar with this issue, the Fills is the roadway and adjacent land along US 1 connecting Upper Matecumbe and Lower Matecumbe Keys, approximately Mile Marker 77.5 to 79.8; the highway traverses Tea Table Key, Indian Key, and Lignumvitae Key Fills and the connecting bridges. Historically, hundreds of people gather at the Fills on weekends and holidays. As the number of people has risen, so has the amount of trash, human waste, shoreline erosion and human-made trails through the mangroves. Islamorada has previously been unable to control the use on the FDEP-owned land.
Following repeated calls for action by Islamorada Village Council Members, staff members and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the public, FDOT is immediately allowing the Village to control the amount of parking and areas of access on the Fills. On Tea Table and Lignumvitae Keys, parking will be allowed only on the four areas with paved driveway aprons, space available for 15-18 passenger vehicles in each of the four areas. Visitors will be allowed to walk from the parking areas to their desired picnic spots.
Additional no parking signs are being installed and vehicular access to no parking areas is blocked with a series of 900-pound barriers. Cones will be placed near the bike path with ropes or tape to restrict vehicles from entering the no parking areas and increased numbers of Village staff will be in place from July 4 through July 7, 2019 to manage traffic in the area, inform people when the parking areas have reached capacity and remove trash. Parking at the Indian Key Fill boat ramp will also be managed by on-site staff, but no cones or barricades will be placed.
In total, there will be approximately 90 parking spaces available on the Fills, reducing vehicles by as much as 80% on the most congested weekends. The area on the oceanside of Lignumvitae Key near the south end of the Fills is completely blocked off due to erosion from the bike path to the shoreline. Parking restrictions will be enforced with citations and towing when necessary.
In addition to the reduced parking and added staffing, six portable toilets will be delivered and placed along the three Fills for at least the next month with twice-daily cleanings scheduled on high-traffic days.
To address the trash problem, an additional 20 to 40 55-gallon trash drums will be placed along the Fills and emptied by the Islamorada Public Works Department into the existing three dumpsters on Indian Key, and two new dumpsters to be placed at the wayside picnic area on the bayside of US 1 at Mile Marker 80.
All these solutions will be evaluated for their effectiveness during and after the July 4th holiday. A long-term parking and management plan has been designed by Islamorada’s Public Works Director for submittal to FDOT with a lease application. The plan will include parking management at the FDEP-owned Indian Key Fill boat ramp for which a separate lease will be required.
At the Thursday, June 27, 2019 Village Council Meeting, Council was supportive of the temporary plan. Moving forward with long-term leases with the FDOT and FDEP and considering new regulations regarding alcohol consumption, and how grills and shade structures will be restricted along the Fills will be discussed in the future.
The FDOT completed its study this week to determine whether it can reduce the speed limit to 45mph through the Fills. The results of the study are not yet available.
Public Works employees after installing barriers and a new "NO PARKING BEYOND THIS POINT" sign.