If you've driven the Courtney Campbell Causeway in the past month or so, you've no doubt noticed the large number of cars illegally parked along the shoulder.
- Drivers were parking illegally during beach shutdown
- While beaches are reopen, social distancing must be practiced
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A Spectrum Bay News 9 viewer says she was nearly hit by one of those cars and reached out to us to report what happened.
Until Monday morning, the beaches in Tampa Bay had been closed because of the coronavirus outbreak.
And while the rules seemed pretty clear for our coastal beaches, the ones along the Courtney Campbell Causeway saw a large number of people using the trails and pavilions.
The problem: Where do you park?
With public parking lots closed, trail users started pulling to the side.
"I was driving to the Tampa side about 5, I had somebody stop suddenly in front of me to park,” viewer Lori Hartmann said of a recent Saturday. “Of course, everybody had to swerve and slam on their brakes. And then coming home about 9 o'clock, there was somebody who pulled out in front of me from the side of the road, in a dark van with no lights on and was going 30 miles an hour."
Parking along the shoulder is dangerous and illegal.
But in the six weeks since Tampa and Clearwater closed their beaches, the number of cars parked along the shoulder increased.
"I counted about a hundred cars when I was headed to Tampa and almost 200 when I was driving from Tampa back to Clearwater," Hartmann said.
With the beaches reopen, that includes the parking areas on the Causeway.
However, according to Rob Shaw with Clearwater police, they will be strictly monitoring to keep a watch on the number of people, and proper social distancing.
For the Clearwater side, there are 43 spots. Once those are full, they're full.
Clearwater and Tampa police reserve the right to limit beach and trail capacity in the name of public safety.