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Road Closures (And More) in Sarasota for the 4th of July Holiday Weekend

| Suncoast Post Staff |

The 38th annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix is July 1 – July 2, 2023, at Lido Beach in the City of Sarasota.  Bayfront Fireworks Spectacular will be Tuesday, July 4, 2023, at the Sarasota Bayfront Park, 1 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, at 9 p.m.

Races and holiday festivities will attract thousands of people to the City of Sarasota.  The Sarasota Police Department is committed to keeping residents and visitors safe.  The Sarasota Police Department wants you and your family to enjoy the holiday weekend safely, and remember, if you SEE something, SAY something.  Report any suspicious activity or behavior to law enforcement immediately.

Sarasota Road Closures / Parking

Vehicles not removed by the posted time will be towed at the owner’s expense. For information on towed vehicles, please call Upman’s Towing at 941-365-7084.

  • Van Wezel Parking Lots / Van Wezel Way from East End to 10th Street
    • Closed from 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 29, 2023, until 10 p.m. Sunday, July 2, 2023.
  • P-1 Racing Pit Party – June 30, 2023 – 6 p.m. until 11 p.m.
  • The Pit Party will take place in the dry pit area in the Van Wezel parking lot.

NOTE:  Due to limited parking spaces, carpooling is highly encouraged.  Illegally parked vehicles are subject to ticketing.  Vehicles blocking private driveways are subject to towing.  Anticipate long delays from the beach area after the races.  When leaving the beach viewing area, expect an exit time of more than one hour.

Centennial Park / Boat Ramp Closures

11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 29, 2023, until 10 p.m. Sunday, July 2, 2023.

This area will be the staging area for the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix.  There will be no boat ramp access during this time.  A suggested alternative boat ramp includes Ken Thompson Park on City Island and various boat ramps in Manatee County and southern Sarasota County.

New Pass Closure

On the water, New Pass will be closed Saturday, July 1, 2023, and Sunday, July 2, 2023, during the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix.  The pass will be closed west of the New Pass bridge.  Boaters will still be able to access the cove. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2023 – Road Closures/Limited Parking for Fireworks at Bayfront

  • 7 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.:  Bayfront Drive (U.S. 41) will be closed from Orange Avenue to Gulfstream Avenue for fireworks.
  • Parking Lot at Bayfront Park/ Island Park will be closed when the parking lot has reached maximum capacity.  No parking is permitted on the grassy area on the south end of Bayfront Park.
  • Parking will not be allowed in the median on John Ringling Boulevard.  Vehicles will not be allowed to park there.  Drivers should observe ‘No Parking’ signs.

NOTE: Vehicle traffic leaving the Bayfront/Downtown area following the fireworks Tuesday, July 4, 2023, will be subject to specific restricted traffic control measures as part of a comprehensive exit plan.  Expect long traffic delays of up to one hour when exiting the event.

Plan Ahead Sarasota: Have a Designated Driver

AAA Tow To Go:  AAA Tow to Go Program will be available to ensure those celebrating the holiday get home safely.  The free, confidential, local ride is within a 10-mile radius of a safe location.  This is offered beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, June 30, 2023, until 6 a.m. Wednesday, July 5, 2022, in Florida. Call 1-855-TOW-2-GO (1-855-286-9246) or visit HERE.  It is never okay to drink and drive.  Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride-sharing service to get home safely.

Lido Beach Holiday Hours

The Sarasota County Sea Turtle Protection Ordinance requires that all beach furniture and equipment be removed from the beach nightly, until sunrise the following morning.  According to amended Sarasota City Code Sec. 22-4, Lido Key public beaches will be closed to beachgoers from 11 p.m. until sunrise.  This means Lido Key beach will be closed to all beachgoers, race spectators, and beach equipment until sunrise, which is approximately 6:30 a.m., during events.  The Sarasota Police Department will enforce closure times to protect the safety of all beachgoers, including the marine turtle kind.  To protect the environment, spectators are asked to stay off dunes along Lido Beach.  Please note: Dogs are not allowed on Lido Beach.

Beach Equipment & Marine Turtle Protection

In addition to expanded marine, foot and vehicle patrols, the Sarasota Police Department will be protecting public safety during events by posting signs prohibiting beachgoers from storing and leaving unattended personal property on Lido Beach, according to Sarasota City Code Sec. 21-44.  This is for protecting all beachgoers and their belongings to help ensure a safe and orderly race and beach-going experience.  Beach furniture and other beach equipment, toys, or trash, left on the beach overnight during marine turtle nesting season can pose a serious entanglement hazard and obstacle for marine turtles and their hatchlings. 

The Sarasota County Sea Turtle Protection Ordinance requires any “temporary structures, including but not limited to beach chairs, umbrellas, and cabanas, which have the potential for entrapment of marine turtles and which may interfere with the use of the natural beach environment for nesting habitat, be removed from the beach nightly, from sunset to sunrise.”  Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, the Sarasota Police Department, Sarasota County Parks Department, and P1 Offshore organizers are partnering to protect endangered marine turtles and ask for the public’s help in making this a safe event for all.

Wildlife Protection in Sarasota

The Sarasota Police Department is conducting enhanced enforcement measures to ensure the conservation and protection of several threatened species of native wildlife of Lido Key, efforts complemented by the work of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium.  Marine Turtles, Black Skimmers, Least Terns, and Snowy Plovers all share Lido Beach and are protected under state and federal law.  Beachgoers should be aware of posted signage and fencing and stay away from marine turtle nests and seabird nesting zones.  It is important not to enter any posted areas and to avoid any behaviors that may disturb the wildlife. 

Disturbances can cause birds to leave their eggs and chicks unattended, making them vulnerable to predators and overheating.  Sarasota Police officers will collaborate with Audubon and Mote Marine volunteers to patrol nesting locations to protect the beautiful Florida wildlife on Lido Key.  Anyone who observes any stranded, sick, or injured marine turtles or mammals can contact Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program, a 24-hour response program in Sarasota and Manatee counties, at 1-888-345-2335.

Photo from Sarasota Police Department

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