Readers share their views about beach driving in Volusia County – Daytona Beach News-Journal

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Here are responses from News-Journal readers about beach driving in Volusia County. Some of them are strongly for it, some are strongly against it, and many are somewhere in between. To everyone who responded, thank you.Pat Rice: Thanks, readers, for sharing your thoughts about beach driving in Volusia CountyMore: In Volusia, federal permit largely steers beach driving, not political whimCurrent mix is goodThanks for asking our opinions on beach driving.Personally, I would be content if no beach driving were allowed anywhere, anytime. I’m OK with the current mix of driving-allowed and car-free areas. But I am opposed to any expansion of beach driving. I’m especially glad there are no cars allowed on the beach from dusk to early morning. Allowing cars on the beach at night would be a nightmare, and an invitation to destructive behavior. The automobile has come to tyrannize the American landscape. The beach is one of the few areas left where people don’t constantly have to watch out for cars. Walking or bicycling on the beach in the early evening, early morning and at night is a favorite quiet activity and source of exercise for many people. We also of course need to consider the effect of cars on the environment and wildlife. Contrary to popular belief, our beach is magnificent in itself; cars are not what make it a great beach.Jenny Nazak, Daytona BeachDaytona a no-goI have lived in Ormond Beach for 22 years. Our two adult daughters, their spouses, and our granddaughters live here as well. All of our extended family live out of state. I mention this because that means that we have a lot of out-of-town guests.When beach driving comes up during visits, people, every one of them, are appalled that we would even think about putting a car on a “pristine” beach. And my husband, kids, spouses, and even grandchildren and I don’t get it, don’t approve.But here is my other reason for writing:  In 22 years, I have only taken visitors south of Granada Boulevard on State Road A1A twice. Twice in 22 years. Why would I?  That A1A corridor has no views of the beach; it is a canyon of hotels and condos. All the shops are cheap and tacky, there are boring restaurants with poor food, rundown hotels and businesses. However, go north of Granada and you see nothing but beach and ocean, quaint beach towns, and unique eateries.  The further north you go, the more scenic ir becomeswith The Hammocks, Washington Oaks, Marineland, Matanzas and St. Augustine.  So, why would I go south to Daytona Beach?  Thank you for your continued work for the community.  Peggy Mathieson, Ormond BeachIt’s about libertyThank you for the invitation to comment on beach driving.  I deeply feel driving on the beach is not only unique in of itself, but should be preserved due to the liberty and the freedom it allows our seniors and disabled citizens.  Many times I have seen seniors enjoying the ocean’s breezes from their cars.  I can only imagine how rewarding it is to them to enjoy the sound and the breeze.  Without access to the beach from their cars, how else could they find contentment from nature’s beauty.?Also, having this access avenue allows many of our tourists to enjoy the beach with their families, especially with small children.  Daytona Beach did not become the “world’s most famous beach” for no reason.  If there was ample parking for everyone, I would assume this would not be a key issue concerning the beach.  Many times I have driven family and friends down the beach to be only amazed by its beauty, so please help us to keep this very precious right that we have. Once the hotels take these away, our reputation as a great vacation venue will be diminished.Don Spencer, Port OrangeA downmarket boostBeach driving is fun and convenient and I’ve always enjoyed it.  But there’s a downside.   Allowing cars on the beach is why our community looks bedraggled compared to other resorts. If we would like better restaurants and more shopping opportunities than T-shirts and beach towels, we need to attract visitors with deeper pockets, or at least some pockets. No one is going to spend money for an upscale hotel room if they must share the sand next to a pickup truck.  But on the other hand, I would not be able to find an affordable condo with an ocean view in any other beach community. Cars on the beach do a great job of keeping our real estate values deflated. Teddy Blauvelt, Daytona BeachThe right proportion I’ve been thinking about Pat Rice’s recent column on beach driving and wanted to add a little something to the conversation.First of all, like Pat, I may have driven on the beach once or twice in the 34 years I’ve lived here. I’m not a fan of beach driving, but I’m not outright opposed to it either. I understand it is a attraction unique to our area and that people enjoy it.Pat mentioned that 16 of the 47 miles of Volusia County beaches are open to driving. If I was a diehard supporter of beach driving, I would see that total of driving areas as a glass two-thirds empty.However, to be fair there should be three totals: open to cars, closed to cars and undriveable. This would change the equation.For instance, south of Ponce Inlet there are about 22 miles of beaches. About five miles are open to cars (from Ponce Inlet to 27th Avenue). The beach is closed to cars south of 27th Avenue all the way to the county line in Canaveral National Seashore, but the beach is undriveable for the most part from Bethune Beach Park south. That means about 12.5 miles are not suitable for cars.I don’t know about the rest of the county, but these numbers certainly help balance the access as far as New Smyrna Beach is concerned. Driveable beach is about 50-50 open to cars and closed to cars.David L. Burt, New Smyrna Beach A new limitLike many Floridians I am a transplant from the North.  My views on beach driving are from an environmental and safety viewpoint.I personally don’t care for the idea of driving on the beach for all the reasons most people cite.  That said I appreciate the culture and the concept of gathering on the beach with friends and family and being able to have such a wonderful place literally at our feet.  It is precious.  If folks could not take their autos to the beach it would create a new level of parking/transport woes that still may happen when the permits expire years down the road.My idea is this: Try to emulate St. Augustine Beach below Anastasia State Park where beach driving isn’t the goal but beach parking and gathering is.  If we could get residents to alter the idea that what we need is beach parking and not so much beach driving it would be an important step.  Make traffic one way so there is only one lane for cars. Mark driving lanes with cones and keep speed iquite low.   Of course this presents less preferable entrance/ exit routes but it is a fair compromise to human safety and environmental concerns.  It would  encourage people to  understand  beach driving from different viewpoints.  It’s not just about big money/hotels confiscating “our” beach but a complicated and evolving set of problems that changes as the seas continue to rise.  Acknowledging that times have changed and Daytona needs to stay current with the world the way it is now and no longer 1960 would be helpful.  Get the Sons of the Beach to participate in discussions of how they see the future and what their ideas are to deal with the very real challenges ahead.  All cars in motion on the beach should have windows open and no music.  Younger drivers can’t yet appreciate the importance of safe driving and it is up to us to mandate it. They can party when parked and very steep fines might discourage the behavior.Perhaps that could be the slogan: Party when parked!Diane Petku, Ormond BeachRefuges neededRegarding your article in The News Journal on beach driving, some of us would prefer no beach driving because of having to look out for cars especially for the children.  I understand that people enjoy driving on the beach so possibly they could have an area for that.  I think that is the way it is now, but we need to feel safe from cars and not having to be concerned about the children and us seniors.Mary Ozenghar, EdgewaterAccess to joyIn reference to your beach driving story in the Sunday, January 17 issue, I offer my thoughts on the subject.My wife and I are from South Dakota and live there six months and in Daytona Beach six months. Neither of us lived near the ocean during our working years. It was with great joy upon arriving here that we learned we could drive and walk on the beach.Everyone should be able to enjoy the beach regardless of physical limitations. Driving on the beach allows people with disabilities access to Daytona’s beautiful beach.Bill McCarthy, Daytona BeachFun to watchWe own a condo in St Maartens and have been in Daytona Beach Shores since 2004, first at Oceans 8. I am 63 years old and you would think I would be one that would be against it. I am not against, I love the cars, bikes and trucks driving on the beach.When I can sit on my balcony and watch the Jeeps during Jeep Week, the bikes during Bike Week and everything else that goes on, I just love it. The little cars, Civics and Corollas and such, well that is questionable whether I like that or not. But they are all having fun.To me all the beach driving does is attract such weekends which in turn brings many dollars into the economy. Do you have a few jerks? Absolutely, but the hotels, grocery stores. fast food eateries and such need this activity.Rather than cut off all the fun, find a way to fund the extra security and/or enforcement to curtail the rowdy and keep the beach open for driving for all of us to enjoy. Like Pat, if I have driven on the beach five times in 17 years that would be a lot.Joe Stuhltrager, Daytona Beach ShoresSafety comes first I love the beach.  Always have.  When the kids were small we went to the beach often, from Fernandina Beach to the Keys.  But we never went to a driving beach.  Safety was my main concern. Even now with the kids grown and off on their own, I still will not patronize a beach town that allows driving on the beach.  So the towns that do allow it miss out on hotel stays, meals, drinks and maybe a few t-shirts. I go to the beach for the fresh air, the breaking waves, the great ocean breeze and even the squawking seagulls.  I also go to get away from exhaust fumes, loud mufflers and even louder music.  As for the cultural heritage I can only say to driving advocates that the 1960s and 1970s are long gone. The state is much more populated now and beaches crowded with cars are just an accident waiting to happen.Ed Stunda, Palm CoastEnough for accessFor many citizens of Volusia County, we love the opportunity to make short visits to the beach, park on the beach and take out chairs and an umbrella and enjoy the experience for a couple of hours.  We would never do this if we could not park on the beach.  Driving on the beach is important to us and to many people, but only if we are able to park there and not have to schlep the things we need to enjoy our trip.  We would not care if they made the beach accessible in short spans so that cruising would not be possible. Lonna Heffington, DeLandOne little life lostWhen I think about beach driving I remember the 4-year-old visiting with family from England in 2010. The child got excited about running to the water, let go of his grandparent’s hand and ran towards it, into the path of a vehicle. I felt their anguish. No one wants to come to our famous beach and bring their child back home this way. Grim? Just Google beach accidents. Economic advantage? Lawsuit territory. Cultural heritage? Things change.We are given many beautiful, free, beachfront parks to leave our cars. Let’s use them for best possible outcome for all.Pamela Cooper, Daytona BeachHistory leads to changeAs a native-born Floridian, I grew up on the sands of Fort Lauderdale beaches.  There was no such thing as beach driving.  Dad parked our old 50s Buick on the sandy edge of State Road A1A.  My family carried their picnic basket, blanket and umbrella from the car to the sand at water’s edge.  My brothers and I ran the beach without fear.  My parents and grandparents set up the umbrella and old army blanket close enough to keep an eye on us, but far enough away to provide a quiet, relaxing lunch. There were no cars to dodge when I ran up for a hug or bite of peanut butter sandwich. The sand was not black from vehicle pollution. Volusia County is one of only three areas in Florida that allow beach driving.  Yes, there is a history of horse-and-buggy to stock car racing on Daytona Beach down to Ponce Inlet. The last year of sanctioned racing occurred in 1958, thereafter France moved his racing enterprise to a new location, the Speedway we recognize today.  Today, Volusia County charges $20 per vehicle to drive on the beach, and collects $1 million-plus annually.  A 10 mph speed limit is strictly enforced. Doesn’t sound like racing to me. How did Volusia County convince its taxpaying citizens that driving on the beach is the same as racing? It is not.Terry Lytle Bledsoe, New Smyrna BeachDon’t surrenderJoni Mitchell once sang, “They paved paradise, put up a parking lot…you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…”. The anti-beach driving crowd shouts a similar tune: you see paradise, restrict driving, and charge fees where you can drive. Do you know there is driveable beach from Ponce Inlet to Ormond Beach? Do you know if there is anywhere else in the world where this phenomenon exists? Driving on this length of hard sand beach exists no where else the the world.The combination of coquina shells and sand create this unique, hard surface. Back a hundred years ago, Mr. Olds of Oldsmobile fame, was riding his bicycle on Ormond Beach and believed correctly that one could race cars on the beach. Voila! Before the Bonneville Salt flats, automobile land speed records were set in Ormond Beach  — hence the appellation, “Birthplace of Speed,” applies to Ormond Beach. In its infancy, NASCAR raced on the beach as late as 1959. This is the primary reason the Daytona International Speedway was built in Daytona Beach. Motorcycle weeks followed. Where would our economy be today without NASCAR and motorcycle weeks?When I first came to the Daytona Beacharea to live in the mid-sixties, I could drive day or night, 24/7, from one end of Ponce Inlet to Ormond Beach without paying a toll and without interruption. In this age of cancel-culture, let’s stop it here. Let’s not cancel beach driving. Beach driving is a glimpse of Paradise, part of our history, and enhances the American love of cars. Let’s not cancel the one unique feature that separates Daytona Beach from all the other beaches in the world. Locals and tourists alike should be allowed to enjoy the World’s Most Famous Beach …by car. Craig Cameron, Ormond BeachKeep status quoThank you for article concerning beach driving. I myself don’t drive on the beach often, but enjoy it when I do. If the driving were not allowed,I question the amount of available parking to be able to have access the beach. There clearly is not enough parking to support the number of residents and tourists that use the beautiful asset we enjoy here. I think it would be an enormous mistake to prohibit that access. It is a very big economy boost here in New Smyrna Beach and Daytona. I don’t see any reason to change what is. Just my opinion!Don Yates, New Smyrna BeachIt’s our beachI’ve been living in the Daytona Beach area since I was 14 years old. I arrived here in May 1963. During my first months here I lived on the beachside.  I started surfing in 1965 and still do. The wooden motels were clean and busy. The proprietors and their families operated them. Their treatment was such that people returned again and again. I was living in the western area of Daytona Beach when I was surfing and had to drive to get to the beach. I parked  where I could watch my car and find refuge in it when the sun was too hot. We had a lot of fun there and did not have to continually look for a place to go. When I first arrived The Daytona Beach News-Journal was constantly editorializing their stance that beach driving had to go. Nothing much was done until condominiums became great in number.The first city to restrict beach driving was Daytona Beach Shores. They were the first to have a large number of condos. Other cities “grew them” and joined in the attack on beach driving. The object, obviously, was to restrict the beach to only nearby residents. As more people moved in from “up North,” the demand to restrict the beach by restricting beach driving became more vocal. They got a lot of their wishes.Before these actions the beach had enough space to allow people to be further apart. Beach accidents with injuries were very rare. Now, as the people are packed closer together, more injuries are occurring. This gives rise to even more actions against beach driving. The real reason is to move toward a private or semi-private beach. Moving the parking for the beach across busy State Road A1A is, obviously, extremely dangerous. That seems to belie the statements that the movement of parking off the beach is for public safety.Evidence of that was the attempt (still going on) to stop the county’s development of a lot adjacent to the beach. The Daytona Beach Shores mayor wanted it to be across busy A1A. That would force the people to carry their beach gear and children across that road to access the beach. It could, eventually, cause no access to the beach if a condominium was built on that lot.We see this in Ponce Inlet where the beach is almost empty in many places as the vehicular access to the beach there is highly restricted. A friend of mine is an avid fisherman. He was walking on the beach in Ponce Inlet when he saw a man coming toward him from one of the mansions adjacent to the beach. The man, yelling loudly,  ordered him off the beach. The man said that he owned the beach. My friend knew better and refused. The argument grew and the man finally gave up and left. As driving is taken off the beach, expect more of that.All over the United States, access to recreational lands (similar to our beach) are facing the same attempts to create de facto private beaches by restricting access. It is obvious that this is the intent here.When I moved to here I heard a common local description of an expert, “a man from ‘up North’, in a suit, carrying a briefcase.” Except for the gender part of the description, the description still stands.Robert Taylor, Holly HillThink of familiesFirst of all I would like to congratulate Pat Rice on a well written, balanced assessment of beach driving in Volusia County.Like you, I believe there is a minority of very vocal people who tend to dominate the discussion.  I find it only slightly ironic that our new County Chairman Jeff Brower ran a campaign based the premise that he was an avid environmentalist and was for limiting development and saving nature, but seems to be a strong voice for preserving (and increasing) beach driving.  I don’t know of too many environmentalists who would support putting motor vehicles onto the clean white sands of a beach.  I don’t quite understand how you can say “save the Loop” in one statement and then turn around and say “keep the cars on the beach at all costs.”  I guess we will have to wait and see how he explains this clear opposition in policies.I was born and raised in Ormond Beach and have seen the evolution of beach driving over the years.  As a teenager and young adult I frequently drove on the beach.  Back then the beach was much wider and the sand was much harder.  This gave us plenty of room to separate the traffic lanes and the recreational parts of the beach. I can understand how some people say that beach driving is our tradition and should be preserved.  But just as the sand on the beach has changed, so should our thought process about allowing beach driving.  As everyone is well aware our beach used to be a site to set land speed records, hold the first NASCAR races, and even land airplanes.  As time went on and the area became more popular we evolved away from these activities.  I don’t hear anyone advocating for returning to these activities even though they too are a part of our tradition.  As such, I think that we have moved forward and should now consider whether or not beach driving is still a good idea in this day and age. I would argue that the rising tides resulting in a decreased overall beach size combined with the influx of softer red sand should force us to reconsider continuing to allow cars on our beach.  In Ormond Beach the sand is completely soft and it is only open to four wheel vehicles most of the time.   This is extremely dangerous as those vehicles often have to go faster than the 10 mph speed limit to maintain traction and have limited control in the soft sand. It should also be noted that during high tide there is literally not enough space for traffic lanes  and beachgoers to sit ( I have seen photos of people sitting in their chairs in the traffic lanes as there is not enough beach). As a result the Beach Patrol often has to close the beach to vehicles for several hours around high tide. Those vehicles that decide to leave the beach during this time are forced to navigate an obstacle course of beachgoers on their way out.  If we take a look around the entire world there are very few places that allow vehicles on their beach and I’m pretty sure there is a good reason why.  I think the thing that most opened my eyes to the dangers of beach driving was having a small child.  I can tell you that as a parent there is nothing more stressful than a day at the beach trying to watch a toddler run back and forth to the water through traffic lanes.  The beach is a place of recreation where kids should be allowed to run and play without having to dodge traffic.  Many of my friends with small children refuse to go to the driving parts of the beach with their kids for that very reason.  I am not personally aware of any children that have been run over and killed on State Road A1A recently but I do know that at least two toddlers have been killed by cars on the beach.  The advocates of beach driving would say that the reason those kids were killed was negligent parents.  That was not true in the case of the little girl from England as she was holding her uncle’s hand when she was tragically run over and killed.  Beach driving advocates might then say that we should then blame inexperienced or negligent drivers.  In the case of the Beach Patrol accident a lifeguard ran over a tourist head and cracked her skull.  I would hardly consider someone who drives on the beach every single day as part of their job an inexperienced beach driver  The fact of the matter is that when you allow vehicles to drive directly through a congested recreation area you are going to have bad outcomes.  The bottom line is that it just is not a good idea to put cars and people in that close of a proximity and assume nothing bad is going to happen.As for the economic impact I feel like the beach driving hurts our tourism.  It is hard to sell yourself as a family-oriented beach when you ask tourists to try to enjoy a beach with their kids while cars drive back and forth behind their hotel.  I would argue the majority of hotel guests do not drive on the beach. They most likely park their car in the hotel parking lot and then just walk out the back door of the hotel and onto the beach.In my opinion the majority of tourists who do drive on the beach are out-of-county day trippers from the surrounding areas. How much economic impact can they have?  They drive over for the day with their coolers and chairs, enjoy the beach, and then return to their homes at night.  I don’t feel like they would stay in the hotels or use the restaurants if they are just here for the day. The other economic impact I would ask county leaders to consider is the costs of maintaining the beach to allow driving.  All the extra signs that have to put out and moved daily, extra Beach Patrol, toll booth attendants, etc must come at a price.  In addition, the county has to pay workers to literally rake the beach and remove car tire tracks every evening in front of each and every turtle nest in the driving zones to allow the baby turtles a clear path to the ocean.  This goes on for the six months of turtle season (May 1 to October 31).  As I stated earlier,  I don’t think too many environmentalists would support beach driving if they considered its true impacts on nature.I think that we already have a great solution in place that works really well.  The Andy Romano and Tom Renick Parks are the shining example of how we should manage our beach.  Both parks are well used on a daily basis and worth every dollar spent to create them.  They allow people to safely park right next to the beach without having to worry about hauling all their things a long distance.  They both have showers and bathrooms which make coming and going so much nicer.  The most important thing that both also have is no cars on the beach directly behind them.  To even consider allowing cars to drive thru the area behind Andy Romano park is reckless and shows little regard for human life.  That area of the beach is wall-to-wall people with dozens of small kids running back and forth all day long   For the beach driving advocates to even put forth reopening that portion of the beach to cars makes zero sense from a safety perspective.  County leaders should immediately consider purchasing additional oceanfront property and create more parks like Andy Romano and Tom Renick.  There are plenty of empty lots for sale up and down A1A to choose from.My personal feeling is that the issue is eventually going to resolve itself.  Either the federal government will revoke the Incidental Take Permit or the influx of soft red sand and rising tides will make beach driving a thing of the past.  I agree with you that a vocal minority tends to dominate the discussion.  I think that if you presented both the arguments for and against allowing cars on the beach to the residents of Volusia County the majority would agree that it is time to evolve and move on.Thanks again for your well-written article on this topic.Dr. Mark White, Ormond BeachTime to move onSimply put, beach driving is part of Daytona Beach’s DNA. Back in the early 1970s before I was old enough to drive, my parents took our family to Daytona Beach for a winter vacation in February. I clearly remember three things. Swimming in the ocean, my sister driving our rental car on the beach at night in the now off-limits area and floating on a river at one of the attractions at Walt Disney World. Now some 50-odd years later we call Daytona Beach home. This beach driving argument amuses me, because at some point rising sea levels will make the issue moot. It is past time to move on from all this crap.Bob Pratt, Daytona BeachBeach access for allI wanted to comment on beach driving. I’m a disabled veteran. Driving onto the beach is very convenient for me. I can pull out a beach chair and. sit right down. If I had to park across the street and try to walk  with a chair, I couldn’t make it. Impossible.I’m also a widower. Sitting in the beach is very comforting, and helps me to be at peace. I’m 75 years old. Please don’t stop beach driving. Thank you.Tom Patock, Port OrangePart of our cultureThanks so much for asking about beach driving, and giving us all a way to share our input.  I’ve lived in Florida for 61 years, and have loved the beach since I first spotted it as a child moving from Illinois to Sarasota in 1959 (Is that snow? No it’s white sand. Wow!).  I’ve spent a lot of time at one beach or another ever since.  I’ve driven (uhh, illegally) on the beach in Sarasota and St. Georges Island, and loved every minute of it.Moving to Ormond Beach 20-plus years ago, I’ve really enjoyed being able to drive on the beach here legally.  I’ve made sure I had a vehicle that could navigate the sand, and the convenience of being able to do that, park, and  set up my beach spot has been a wonderful thing.  As I age, hauling chairs and such has become much more of a chore at non-driving beaches like Sarasota.  I hope to be able to still enjoy a drive-up spot here for as long as I live.Beach driving here is, to me, an extremely important part of our culture and heritage.  I can’t tell you how many times I tell folks I live in the Daytona Beach area, and they immediately ask if you really can drive on the beach.  An affirmative answer always draws a wistful expression.  When my mother first visited me at my residence here, I took her back to the Daytona Airport via the beach.  (From the Granada approach all the way to the International Speedway approach).  She loved it!  I also take my out-of-town company for a ride on the beach, it is always a hit.  To me, losing beach driving would be an awful tragedy for most of us personally, and to our county’s reputation and popularity.Lastly, as to the economics of beach driving, I feel it benefits us all.  I am by no means anti-development in general.  However I have seen what happens to towns that developers “discover”, and it never works out well for the beaches.  We have a great county here now, and to ban beach driving so we can build more hotels, condos, casinos, gift shops, etc is a fool’s bargain.  Let’s keep the best attraction we have intact, and if we can legally get back some of the driving areas, let’s do that too!Greg Schlaf, Ormond BeachPlease keep drivingI thought I’d take Pat up on his request and tell you what I think about beach driving. In my humble opinion, it’s the best part about Central Florida beaches. Here’s  why.I’m semi-retired, and my wife is about six months away from retirement, and we live in DeLand. We’ve been driving on the beach for the last 25 years. We have it down to a science now. With our beach pass, we are usually there by 8: 30 a.m. We load two chairs, a beach umbrella, cooler, snacks, a little fold out table, and portable drill with auger. When we get on the beach and find our parking spot, it takes about 5 minutes to set up. Chairs go behind the SUV, table between them, and use the drill to put a quick hole in the sand for the umbrella. Just like that, we are ready to relax, have some drinks and snacks and enjoy watching the ocean roll in. Could life be any easier?When my wife was furloughed for three months in the late spring, we were at the beach three or four days a week. After getting set up in five minutes, we set out to walk miles and miles. Fresh air, sunshine, and good exercise.Here’s the unpleasant alternative to driving on the beach. We canceled our normal Thanksgiving family get together. On Turkey day, we packed bacon, egg and cheese biscuits and had breakfast on the beach. Christmas festivities were canceled so we did the same for Christmas breakfast. We planned to do the same for New Year’s morning. When we got there New Year’s day morning  however, all beach access was canceled due to the unusually high tides caused by very strong winds. It took me about 20 minutes to find a place to park, and I finally gave in and paid the city of New Smyrna Beach $20 to park in their lot. I had to make three trips from the SUV to the beach to carry our chairs, umbrella, table and cooler. Thirty minutes total and both knees were sore all day (dealing with some old age knee issues). Going home was another round of three trips taking 30 minutes from the beach to the SUV. What was normally a very pleasant fun loving trip had become a giant pain in the butt.Being able to drive on the beach, we usually are there three or four times every month. When we both retire in a few months, it will be much more often. As I said, when my wife was furloughed we were there three or four times a week and I expect that will be our retirement schedule.  If we had to pay $20 every time we went for parking, and make multiple trips from SUV to the beach and back, we wouldn’t go nearly that often. Knowing how easy driving on the beach makes it to enjoy the beach has clearly spoiled us.Economically, the beach passes provide a regular, guaranteed revenue stream for the county. Please don’t repeat this, but I would continue to buy the annual beach pass even if cost substantially more. While we usually bring our own drinks and snacks, we almost always buy lunch at one of the beach side restaurants. Going less often, means less revenue for restaurant owners.Culturally, the history of driving on Volusia County beaches is what we do here. It makes our beaches unique from all the other Florida beaches. It’s our lifestyle. It creates great memories. My wife is a native to this area, having grown up in Deltona and graduated from DeLand High. She tells great stories about how she and friends made spare cash by driving up and down the beaches in four-wheel drive Jeeps and pulling stuck northerners out of the sand for $10. Between classes at Daytona Beach Community College, she and her friends would drive to the beach, hop out for a quick swim and head back to class. Timing probably wouldn’t have worked if you had to add in a 20-minute walk from the Jeep to the beach and then again from the beach to the Jeep.As Pat points out, you can only drive on 16 of the 47 miles of Volusia County beaches, or about 1/3. That leaves 2/3 of the beaches for people who don’t like the idea of cars on the beach. Let each side go to the type of beach they prefer, but don’t take away my enjoyment of driving on the beach because other people don’t think I should have that freedom. From my experience, about 98% of those that drive on the beach obey all rules and regulations, clean up after themselves and practice safe driving. We are a considerate group, and appreciate the opportunity to have such easy access to the beach.So there you have it. My sincere hope is that beach driving will be around for a long, long time.Jim Tischler, DeLand Sets us  apartThank you for bringing up this topic.For over 100 years people could drive on Daytona Beach.  I remember driving from the Ormond Pier to Ponce Inlet.  It was a wonderful way to grow up.  Families could load their toys and kids up and enjoy the beach 24/7 for free. It made Daytona “the” beach destination.  There are 1,100 miles of beach in Florida and in this unique area you could enjoy driving the beach in your car and parking without dragging your kids and stuff half a mile.Removing beach driving makes us just another beach.Privatizing the beaches that everyone pays for is wrong.  Make no mistake, the purpose of eliminating beach driving, imposing and raising tolls has always been about privatizing public lands.David McCurdy, Port Orange Things are differentI am not a supporter of cars on any of our state’s beaches.I acknowledge the history of beach driving in Florida and understand that many of our state’s residents connect themselves to the decades old practice of driving on the beach. I know there is also the historical perspective of the beginnings of auto racing in Florida that originated on the hard packed sand at the beach, and the economic impact that the racing industry has had on Daytona Beach and other cities in our local area.However, as a society, it is also important to recognize that things are much different in 2021 than they were during the heyday of auto racing on the beach. Over time, we have become much more informed and concerned about the environmental impacts that various activities have for our oceans and beaches. Not to mention the fact that the changing composition of the sand in this part of Florida is making it much more difficult for vehicles, even those with four-wheel drive, to drive on an increasing number of local beaches that were driveable in the past.No, we should finally adopt a stance that our beaches are for people, not cars.Dave Gray, Palm CoastDriving still neededMy husband and I no longer drive on the beach mainly because we live about 1,000 feet from our beautiful beach. When we moved to the area in 1980, we knew it was the “World’s Most Famous Beach” and we used it daily.  After work, we would  drive our “damn van” and meet our neighbors who drove a Jeep for a picnic dinner. Or, on a Saturday night we would pile in one of the vehicle’s  and drive from Ponce Inlet to Ormond Beach. Weekends were heaven as we spent all day, the guys surfing and the girls tanning.  We were all awed when Ponce Inlet held races  for Bike Week, continuing the legend of  the first car races on  Miracle Mile or when car commercials were actually made on the beach. We are older and wiser now and drive SUVs , trucks and VW Bugs so we leave our vehicle parked at home and walk to the beach as part of our daily exercise. This doesn’t mean that we want to prohibit anyone else from truly enjoying the beach as we did. Of course that isn’t possible. Volusia County has outlawed most of those privileges.  They stopped night driving years ago, they have put up so many signs and barriers that rob from its beauty and they have given parts of it away for hotels and condos to privatize.  In my opinion as a travel agent, we have lost our locals who drive from inland with their families for a fun-filled day in the sand.  They stay for dinner, car washes and entertainment. If we close the beach to driving what is to happen to the handicapped who thrive by driving to the beach, put their sore feet in the warm sand or transfer to their wheel chair to  enjoy their beach day, too?Shame on Volusia County for taking these rights away. We moved here because we loved our beach and we would like to have it back.Nancy Lilly, Daytona Beach ShoresTragedy in waitingIn answer to your request for opinions on beach driving, very simply: Young children and families. Young children come to the beach to run and play. They do not understand “playing in traffic.”I see drivers not paying attention. They are here to look at bikinis. They have several beers or whatever and want to show off their driving skills by “spinning” out and acting irresponsibly.A close friend of mine was laying on her beach chair and run over and dragged down the beach screaming. She ended up in the hospital with a broken leg. He didn’t see her? What about the young family that watched in horror as their mother was run over? And the young family that was covered in sand from someone showing off with a spin-out! And, of course, the loud music, and horns and black smoke! Who can forget that? Aside from the safety issues. I thought there was a noise ordinance.Barbara Tennant, Daytona Beach ShoresWeak arguments against I’m fully behind beach driving and here’s why.Ever since I saw footage of the land speed record held at Daytona Beach, I couldn’t wait to drive the same beach as Sir Malcolm Campbell and in 2012 my wish came true.I must have enjoyed it as in 2015 I purchased a house on State Road A1A (the cheap side of State Road A1A). Since then, I’ve followed many local issues, in particular the fight to retain beach driving.For me and I’m sure many other first-time visitors to Daytona Beach, the initial drive on the beach is a real memory maker. The controls in place ensure it’s a safe environment to mix people with slow-moving cars.The arguments against cars on the beach range from the protection of turtles, which I fully endorse, and the safety of children or any person on the beach, again which I fully endorse.But unless I’m mistaken there are no recorded incidents of turtle to car issues and thankfully I’m only aware of one child being in contact with a moving vehicle in the last year, but I’m very aware of the many other pedestrian accidents on local roads including many fatalities.If road safety (and the beach is classed and enforced as a road) is a priority then the beach is on current data a very safe place to walk and drive.If you read any history books on the area,  beach driving  helped attract investors. Now it seems the modern day investors want to take that away, I’m sure my desire to visit Daytona Beach wouldn’t have been so strong if I couldn’t drive on the sand.Every town needs its unique selling point, and as much as Daytona Beach has changed over the centuries the beach remains just that, a beach.What makes Daytona Beach so unique is that type of sand makes a flat hard-packed surface and since the birth of the automobile the beach has been open to vehicles.Since tolls where introduced I’m sure the data will back up just how many people have taken the opportunity to enjoy the ability to drive and enjoy what very few other towns across the world can offer.Now being a seasonal resident I cycle the beach almost everyday and it gives me great pleasure to see people enjoying the beach, both in cars and on foot.Barry Chantler, Daytona BeachMore freedom neededI am not one to be much involved anymore; too busy taking care of my mother who is in her final weeks of life.  Our local politics are just too draining with little chance for much needed change.  But  I do have a very strong opinion concerning our long Daytona Beach history of beach driving.I married a Daytona Beach boy over 40-plus years ago.  He was born, raised, schooled  and after serving in the Air Force for over 24 years we moved back to Daytona Beach in 1994. Even prior to living here we vacationed to this area every year and can recall when we sometimes arrived by car at night we would grab a handful of Krystal hamburgers, drive onto the beach and watch and listen to the waves approach our car.  It was so beautiful, safe,  open and free.  Then the lawsuit occurred and the county began making  plans to remove cars, increasing a beach  budget that is beyond believable and trying to convince everyone it was the benefit of mankind and those turtles. We have lived in the Seabreeze/University neighborhood for over 25 years and now within a stone’s throw of the Hard Rock Hotel.  We love the beach, have fished on the beach and always enjoyed having it in our back yard.  We have watched it destroyed year after year when cars began to be banned in many sections…normally to benefit a new hotel or remodel and then find the county building off-beach parking lots for visitors who want to visit the beach but are not staying in our local hotels.  The parking lots are rarely policed or cleaned, appearing everywhere, many times on the west side of A1A abutting against the single family neighborhoods.  When people depart those lots they leave their garbage and other “stuff” only to then be visited by the vagrants looking for usable items.  It is a growing issue and has been a major factor to the decline of the beachside communities.I put blame for our beachside deterioration on removing cars from our beach.  With no beach driving in many large sections and the high cost of a daily toll our local Floridians have nowhere to park when they wish to spend the day enjoying our best asset and our large “tourist” hotels reap the benefit of having a “privatized” beach for their guests.  The truly sad part is these business power brokers knew our history of beach driving before they invested in our area but used their clout to sway our politicians (county and local) to remove cars from the beach.  It has worked, .for now.  Even The News-Journal played a part in removing cars from the beach.I am absolutely thrilled that we now have a very strong leader on our County Council who supports beach driving and wants to return our beach to a more open and inviting asset.  Jeff Brower, our new county chair, is a breath of fresh air and with his leadership I think he just may have the support of enough of other elected county members who will join him in making some much needed changes.  The vast amounts of money to try and have him defeated was not enough this time and I believe his support of beach driving played a role in electing him as our chair. Anita Gallentine, Daytona BeachTime for a banI understand that driving on the beach is a tradition that goes back 100 years, to the era of the Model T Ford. But other than being a tradition, I see no reason to allow driving on the beach today. The population of Daytona Beach has increased by a factor of 20 times in the last 100 years, and it is a safety issue now, with so many people on the beach. As far as the economics issue is concerned, people will not stop going to the beach because they can’t drive their cars on it.I greatly value customs and traditions, and like to see them respected as much as possible.  However, on this issue, I believe it is past time for a ban on beach driving, there is just no reason for it to continue.Bob Lasagna, DeLandMixed solution worksThanks for Pat Rice’s invitation to comment on the issue of beach driving.  I am in favor of the hybrid solution that currently exists, allowing for 16 miles of beach driving minus the relatively small traffic-free zone approved in the core tourist area.  I don’t know why people debate this issue as an “either-or” situation when we already have a common-sense solution that meets everyone’s recreational and economic needs. Status quo for me.Bill Ward, Port OrangeIntertwined history My house is about five blocks from the beach and our back yard is on the Intracoastal. We moved here about 18 years ago now.  In that time I occasionally drive on the beach. Probably once or twice a year, just to go for a drive and then a couple times to park. I think as a matter of cultural heritage the beach is important to this area. But that is juxtaposed against a modern component that can’t figure out how to support or integrate racing or even NASCAR into our day-to-day economic backbone. When you consider the races that come to Daytona Beach and the Speed Weeks and testing around them, that’s awesome.  But what happens the rest of the year?  It’s not like we have the hall of fame here. If the discussion is economics and heritage then we need to see a better integration year round with the topic. NASCAR today is an important economic driver to this area, but the history lessons are barely understood. What is the primary economic industry of this area when you take out the speedway?  Is it the beach?  Actually our biggest employer is the county when you include our schools.  Both entities have billion dollar budgets, and spend locally.  Is another possible driver of the economy our restaurants hotels and thousands of jobs related to hospitality in this area that have to exist year round and not simply during race week?  I’d say yes.  Those entities need to survive this pandemic and have far less resource and political weight to do so than NASCAR does.Bike Week and other “weeks” bring in capital but aren’t centered on beach driving. Even the newer week of “Jeep week” is lucrative for our continued economic vitality, but those weeks don’t have the historic component that racing does, either.So where is “historic beach driving week?”Motorcycles and racing cars should be synonymous with Daytona Beach, but we couldn’t even land the hall of fame or a single race team.  Having lived in Charlotte before I moved here and having gone back many times since the Hall of Fame was built, the changes were extensive for the area of town it went up in, as it could have been here.We are fighting for a past built on the shifting sands of time, while not using that rich history other than to continue fighting among ourselves.Really, what the history of beach driving represents and the economics it drives are one and the same: the past.  I’d be a huge fan of seeing us evolve our beach, our driving on our beach and the economics surrounding those things, but we have to stop living in the past, while trying to celebrate it.Because I’m sure someone will mention the taxes, it’s important to note that the taxes came after the racing and beach driving started.  Taxes certainly can help influence keeping driving on the beach, but ultimately that goes into the coffers of the county, increasing its revenue base.  To me that’s not an argument for smaller government and keeping driving, it becomes a question of where do officials replace that revenue from if they lose it.Carl Tews, Ormond BeachFeature the Boardwalk We should drive and park on the beach at the Boardwalk. The pier and restaurant would gain more activity. Hopefully The Boardwalk will rebuild. What a nice memory when my family would go to The Boardwalk 1960s and 1970s.There are several parks or (what I call water parks) on the beach. Place no-driving zones in these areas.Wayne Bishop, Ormond Beach  It’s really beach parkingThank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts. Beach driving is one of the charms of Daytona Beach that we love. But let us call it what it really is: beach parking. My husband is disabled and cannot walk the distance and go down stairs to enjoy the beach. But he can drive on the beach, park, get out his chair, sit down and sun away. Also, when our children with our grade school grandchildren come to visit, it takes two loads of stuff in order for them to spend the better part of a day at the beach. Canopy, seven chairs, three coolers with lunch, snacks and drinks. Beach toys galore, beach bags with all the necessities, towels, lotion, etc. There is not enough beach parking close enough and it is quite a chore to lug all that stuff. Being able to drive on the beach, park and unload right there is a blessing. We all don’t just carry a towel and a bottle of water.Janie Spillman Wood, Daytona BeachTry shuttles for accessI dislike beach driving because it makes the beach like a street! It is dangerous for all ages of people and creatures. It packs sand, pollutes the beach, creates trash, transports invasive plants, causes squabbles, ruins your car, etc. Yet I am in favor of the historic beach parade and I do favor a driveable strand for handicapped folks and addicts.Since you asked, I actually have a good plan for beach access. I wrote emails to (former county manager) Jim Dinneen several times suggesting this, but never heard back. However, I just suggested it to Chair Jeff Brower.”Did you read in The Daytona News Journal today about how Margaritaville is providing shuttles to take their residents to their private beach club? I proposed that idea years ago when Jim Dinneen started buying oceanfront lots for parking using ECHO funds! I said the same thing you did; this is a high property-tax loss. What I proposed was to have beach designated shuttles from inland parking lot locations, like Votran only Beachtran. The shuttles would have racks for beach stuff and would safely drop folks off at the cross overs or beach parks, then return them to their cars in the parking lots. No beach parking needed. There could be a fee, but shopping malls might be glad to provide free parking to attract customers.Suze Peace, DeLandDaytona must progressFirst, let me start off by saying I’m on the fence with beach driving but lean toward not allowing it in most areas. Now I will explain why. My husband and I are relatively new residents of Daytona Beach (6 years) although our family vacationed here since 1986. We owned a timeshare in Ormond Beach and looked forward to coming every year. We loved the laid back vibe. We always felt we were coming “home” every March. There were three things I did not like about this area: 1)Bike Week, 2) the crowds in the main spring break area; and 3) beach driving.The first two were easy to deal with. We stayed north of the busiest area and avoided the biker activities. The beach driving was harder to deal with. I could never relax on our beach. I always had to be vigilant about the kids, I had to watch the tide times like a hawk to make sure the driving lane wasn’t too close to the playing area. It became exhausting. When we wanted quality beach time, we actually drove all the way to Cocoa Beach so we could thoroughly relax. If I didn’t like the three special things about the area, why do we live here?  We come from a cold urban area (no more need be said about that). We always knew we would retire to Florida. We had lived in Miami and there was never a “y’all come” feeling of their beachside. It was more like “what are you doing here?”  Even though we were white collar, upper-class folks, we found a comfort here we found nowhere else.  We loved the non-judgmental attitudes and the blue collar atmosphere. We knew that one of the reasons for the friendly attitudes was because of the freedoms and openness of our beaches. We still appreciate this. We chose to live beachside and are not sorry. Unfortunately, the long term and native Daytona Beach folks have weaponized the open beach culture. They now have a “with us or against us” attitude. Beach driving should not be the main position of a political race!Those same people think the lack of beach driving is why tourists are not coming. Beach driving could be one of the reasons they stay away. They can’t relax and there is not a lot to do if they are not on the beach. There are no nice shops, galleries, nice restaurants and classy bars anywhere. How many times can you hear, “How would you like your fish?, grilled, blackened or fried.” This is one of the many problems with why Daytona Beach is not keeping up with the rest of the Eastern Seaboard. Those same folks don’t want it better. They want it the same. Nothing ever stays the same and survives. Now that I’m older, I appreciate the ability to park on the beach, unload our stuff just a few feet away and walk, or sit, or picnic. Notice I said park? Although my husband actually likes to drive on the beach, I still don’t enjoy it. I get too nervous knowing how little people pay attention. We buy an annual beach pass. It’s a great deal for residents and that should be considered a perk. It should not be viewed as a money maker. Using our pass and charging tourists for parking in a well maintained lot would make up for any lost revenue. Upgrading our beachside area with better hotels, restaurants, bars and shops will more than pay for itself and make Daytona Beach a contender in the tourist market. We can’t rely on hard packed sand for that. Kris Eide, Daytona BeachDistinct characterThanks for asking our views on beach driving. It seems there’s often debates on the subject but little place to express an opinion.I am all for beach driving with its speed limit and the safety regulations. The eastern shoreline of Florida has to be one of the longest and most beautiful beach in the world. Very few places, to my knowledge, offer the possibility of driving on the beach without getting stuck. I believe that beach driving gives Volusia County a distinct character that not many other places offer, a positive one. On days like today, it’s 55 degrees, I truly enjoy driving the whole length of the driveable beach.  For those who prefer not having cars around them on the beach, there are hundreds of miles of driverless beautiful beaches to enjoy in Florida. Personally, I’d like to drive from Ponce Inlet to Daytona Beach.Thank you for asking!Guy Gregoire, Port OrangeHeaven on earthIt is almost impossible to put myriad thoughts into a couple of soundbites, but I will try.I love beach driving, and have ever since I was a child when we took a Florida vacation in Daytona Beach.One of the reasons we retired to Volusia County was so that we could drive on the beach. Rare is the week that goes by when my wife and I don’t jump into the car and head for Daytona to drive the beach. A morning walk, a picnic lunch, and/or reading in the sunshine are part of the experience that makes beach driving a little piece of heaven on earth.One of the last things that we did with my mom before she died was to bring her to the beach for a picnic lunch. She didn’t eat much and she hardly talked. We just sat in the sunshine, enjoying the view, remembering life. That is a memory that I will treasure forever.Every time the county adds another driving restriction, closes part of the beach for a hotel, or charges an extra fee, it takes away from the pleasures that we have enjoyed for a lifetime. I am one of those people that believes that the beach belongs to the people, not to the rich landowners, mega hotels, or convention centers.As we drive the beach we watch people – many drive up and down just as we do. Others set up shade tents and spend the day. Some party. All have fun. If the beach were closed to driving, many of these people would not come to the beach anymore. Their money and their entertainment would go elsewhere.I even bought an all-wheel drive vehicle in part so that we could drive the soft sands up in Ormond Beach.If the beach were to be closed to traffic, my quality of life would be diminished, and there would be a great sadness in our family. I can only imagine that this would hold true for thousands of other beach drivers.Those are some of my thoughts – enjoy your project!Doug  Tader, DeLandShift the focusGood afternoon.  Sorry about the length (even after some editing, but I thought some context was needed).I was born in Halifax Hospital in 1957, and lived in Ormond Beach until leaving after getting my AA at Daytona Beach Community College in 1977.  For me and many of my friends, we decided that once we earned a college degree, coming back to Daytona Beach to find a good job and start a family was off the table unless you became a doctor or lawyer. Having retired at the end of 2019, after 40 years of a business career that landed me in seven different cities, my wife and I moved back to Daytona to be near family. We have enjoyed the “small town” feel of greater Daytona in the older areas (beachside, mainland east of Nova).  These are the areas that I still recognize from 40 years ago, with some better and some worse for wear.I was old enough to go to the beach without parental supervision by 1968 (we had a lot more freedom as kids in those days), I witnessed what might have been the heyday of beach driving into the 1970’s.  Summer weekends were often packed from the Granada approach to Ponce Inlet.  Winters were the time for surfing, with beaches wide open, but typically we would go north and park off-beach to access the better breaks. Fast forward to the 1990’s when I would visit my parents with my wife and 3 young children, and we would always go to north Ormond Beach to be able to enjoy the beach without cars. That was for day trips when we lived in Orlando, and when I was transferred farther away, we would come back for a week and rent a condo there.  As a teenager, I would have never thought about parental concerns about car traffic and children, but as a father, that is all I could think about. I assume that the majority of parents feel the same way.  Who wants to have to worry about cars and children when you are enjoying the beach?Beach driving is nostalgic and I am OK with having some areas available for those curious to do so (local and tourists). But really, slow speed driving isn’t that exciting. Vehicles on the beach also are just another source of pollution, and spoil a natural setting. I see the popularity of the beach parking lots, and think they are the way of the future.  As Paul Rice indicated in a letter to the editor published today, we need to think about the rising ocean and cars on the beach may not be possible, leaving off beach parking as the way we access the beach, and we need to start acquiring additional sites with Volusia Forever funding. Tourism did bring the need for parking, and well, the beach certainly provides for overflow parking; however, our tourism market is no longer the economic engine it was in the 60’s and 70’s (and really, was it even that beneficial?).  I think back to my trips to the Main Street area in the 1960’s with my parents and grandmother, and the carnival sideshow (other than the Bandshell) that involved.  Exciting but also even at my young age seemed “sketchy”.  Then came the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971 (and subsequently Epcot in 1982, Universal in 1990, and Animal Kingdom in 1998) and the Daytona Beach area simply did not compete with these higher quality entertainment options. My guess is that a lack of investment in quality properties (hotels, restaurants, etc.) combined with the draw of Orlando’s theme parks, the limited budgets of families gave Orlando the “win.”With the decline of tourists and investments, Daytona Beach was left with a decaying infrastructure overly dependent on the big event weeks (car racing events, bike weeks) and a focus on bars and temporary structures.  It is not a stretch to see that this cycle reinforced a negative view of families and potential investors/businesses about Daytona. I don’t believe limiting beach driving was a factor in this decline, and the group promoting increasing beach driving hasn’t presented any facts and research that supports that position. Do they have any?The big question to me is “what does the Daytona area want to be”? I know community leaders are not satisfied with the “today,” but what is the goal and what is the road map to get there? I believe we have an opportunity to create a diverse economy that draws in families, retirees, and tourists to support business growth. Does beach driving have anything to do with development in these areas, I don’t believe so.  Our area along the coast has a great climate that attracts families, retirees, and tourists who desire an outdoor lifestyle in a safe environment.  I believe an outdoor lifestyle is something we can sell, and we are seeing just that in Latitude Margaritaville and Pictona, both examples of development focused on retirees. But we can’t rely just on retirees.  We need more families and for that, we need more good jobs.  To get more good jobs, we need to provide an infrastructure, both physical and conceptual, that allow entrepreneurs and corporate leaders to envision having the lifestyle they desire here.  It seems Ormond Beach and Port Orange have made some progress, but the City of Daytona Beach seems to be far behind even with the current emphasis on far west development.  From the beachside blight (ISB, Main Street entry points come to mind) and a seemingly increasing homeless population in high traffic areas along A1A and US1, visitors (and potential job creators) see this and you have to believe that hampers our ability to develop interest.We need to be less car-focused including driving cars on the beach. We need to be more accessible for pedestrians and bicycle riders, versus being so car-oriented. The new areas to the west are being developed bringing traffic congestion with it. But our older areas, including Daytona Beach Midtown that you just focused on with multiple articles, can be made more accessible and attractive.  Just that alone can show visitors that there is a vision for our area. For example,State Road  A1A from Ormond Beach to Dunlawton, is a generally unattractive road and is a barrier to improving the beachside for pedestrians and bicycle riders.  Unless there is a “special event”, it is not heavily traveled and we have an opportunity to make it a better balanced transportation corridor (try crossing A1A as a pedestrian, even at a crosswalk).The city of Daytona Beach proper has a lot to do but I don’t believe they can do it alone. I wonder if the county and the other cities in Volusia see their future tied hand in hand with the city of Daytona Beach as I believe it is.  I know for our coastal cities in Volusia County, the City of Daytona Beach has a household income in 2018 that was about 60% of that in Ormond Beach, Port Orange, or even Volusia County as a whole. It seems the city of Daytona Beach needs much more help from the county in the form of investment (I am not up to speed on current help it provides, but is it enough?).Thank you for allowing me to share my views.Greg Bottom, Daytona BeachBeach driving is just wrong I have heard every excuse from the past Volusia County Council to completely eliminate beach driving.  I have lived in this area over 60+ years. These council members have ruined the beach with their so called laws to suit their agendas.  They took away night driving because of sea turtles. I get that, to a point.They block off large areas for children.  Give me a break! So the people with children park close to the blocked off area.  Then they walk to the blocked off area and most of the people are all in one small area leaving the rest of the large area unattended.Oceans Condominiums, Hard Rock Hotel have the beach blocked off with big old telephone poles. Seriously, it looks hideous!  I pay taxes and I have a right to go on the part of the beach they seem to think they own.  If that’s the case, then why are they not paying taxes on the beach land that they blocked off from our access? I say the land starts at low tide to their property line!When someone gets run over closing the beach driving starts all over.  Why is the city paying for the accident? The person involved should be paying.  If the city opened the beaches like it was, everyone would not crowd in one spot.  Small children should be banned from beach areas where big crowds are gathered, during Speed Weeks, spring break, Bike Week, etc.What may work is beach driving one-way.  People could drive north to south. The only exception is at the last exit, Ormond Beach and Ponce Inlet where it would become two lanes for a short distance.  People could go down any exit and drive from Ormond Beach to Ponce Inlet without having to exit.  People will have more access to the beach.  There will be less crowding in one area.  No more ugly poles blocking my right to the beach.  When the tide is low, cars could drive in the middle of the beach and not near cars.That would avoid kids running in front of cars.  When it’s high tide I’m sure the council could come up with a solution.Banning beach driving is wrong in so many ways.   I voted for Jeff Brower and I hope he can make much needed changes to eliminate private beaches.Diana Franecke, Port OrangeWhy they picked VolusiaI am strongly in favor of beach driving. My wife and I vacationed in Florida every year for most of our young adult life. We enjoyed visiting the beaches on the entire East Coast because it reminded us of Jones Beach in New York. Lots of soft white sand to put out a chair and read a book while the children played in the edge of the water.  We had a family home on the beach in New York and spent most of our family time on the sand. The only things we disliked about beaches in New York was the distance between the parking lot and the water, and the travel distance from home to the beach.When I retired and we wanted to move to Florida, it was only natural for us to move close to the beach. We moved to Volusia County in 1998 because of being able to drive our SUV onto the sand, look for a suitable location to park and unload our chairs, cooler, and domino table right behind the car. When we were finished reading, watching the youngsters (grandchildren) it was a quick and easy task to reload our beach “stuff” into the SUV and exit for the drive home. The beach concessions are convenient to purchase ice cream or beverages, rent chairs or umbrellas or participate in beach activities like parasailing, surfing, etc. John Schroeder, Daytona BeachShut out the common manWe are snowbirds from Maine in our mid-70’s. We own a small home in Daytona Beach and buy a beach pass every year. We are unable to carry all beach equipment now and being able to drive on the beach is the absolute best part of spending 5-6 months here. My husband has been coming to Daytona since he was a child and has memories of driving on the beach in the 1950s . Last year we were able to drive our granddaughter on the beach and we would hate to see that change. Do we really want to restrict beach access to the wealthy? That we believe is the real question! Patti Thibodeau, Daytona BeachDriving has done no harmThis beach driving issue needs to be looked at from a cultural and factual basis. If we as a community lose track of facts and culture, then what will we have.The facts are: the beach has not been harmed by driving. I have lived here for over 50 years and it is the same sand. This is the only beach you can drive on and without that, what do we have that any other beach town doesn’t have? We have chased off or greatly reduced the size of every special event this area had to attract tourists to fill the great number of hotel rooms we have per/capita.We cannot depend on the race track and its falling attendance for filling these rooms. We have already lost a lot of beach to private interest and other decisions. Remember how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time. The beach has always been a gem to be enjoyed by all residents and not just the well-off who can buy right on the beach. It is a great advantage of this area that my family can drive to the beach with all of our “stuff” in my vehicle for a day at the beach and have it right there with us, and not have to negotiate a busy five-lane road with all our “stuff” and kids. Do we want to turn into a town like every other seaside town, where you can’t get to the beach because everyone that has a house on the beach controls the beach in front of their house? If the sea rises (heard that for decades) then so be it, but until then, let’s not lose our culture or our beach access that separate us from all other beach towns.Geno Brown, Port OrangeDriving is no secretHaving exited I-95 at the wrong exit in 1986, we ended up in Ormond Beach instead of Daytona Beach and it was the best mistake we ever made. We purchased a timeshare in Ormond Beach (Oceanside 99 just south of Granada Boulevard) that year which we kept for about 20 years before purchasing a home in Ormond Beach in 2003 and moving in full-time in 2004.  Beach driving (and parking) was in full swing at that time and we accepted it as part of the ambiance of the area.  I don’t remember any areas south of Granada where the beach was restricted.  During those years College Spring Break was in full gear as were Black College Reunion Weekends to a lesser extent.  We walked the beach daily and with few exceptions people drove the beach without incident.  The restaurants and souvenir shops were bustling as well with tourists. Those who came here and complained about driving on the beach should have done their homework.  This was not a secret.  There are hundreds of miles of beach in the state of Florida where driving is not permitted.  Driving on the beach in Volusia County is a feature unique to this area.  If you don’t like it, don’t come.  If you live here, there are areas north of Granada where there are no vehicles on the beach.  There is room for everyone.Driving along State Road A1A from Ormond Beach south to Daytona Beach, there are many hotels on the east side that have been remodeled, been rebuilt after multiple hurricanes or are new.  The parking lots of these places all appear to be full.  Still remaining are too many vacant lots mostly in Daytona on the east side of A1A.  Based on all of the development going on in the area it is my opinion that the county would be wise to purchase these properties as money becomes available and build more Andy Romano type parks.  This one is heavily utilized which bodes well for restaurants and Bellair Plaza.I say shame on the county for caving in to the demands of Hard Rock Hotel.  They didn’t even end up building where they originally wanted cars off the beach.  That change to taking over the Westin location should have ended that demand.   Requiring people driving to get off the beach, drive along A1A and then return to the beach is insane. I personally don’t drive on the beach, maybe a time or two when we used our timeshare which we no longer own, but don’t begrudge enthusiasts who reasonably and safely cruise the shoreline.  Due to health issues and disabilities there are some people who otherwise could never enjoy the sand and ocean.Connie Colby, Ormond BeachRemember the funRegister me as a beach driving advocate. I’ve lived here long enough to remember the beach open 24/7. Beer was OK, but no bottles. The boardwalk merchants really liked beach driving. There have been lots of changes since 1956 when the first wave knocked me over. Francis Ford, Ormond BeachBeach driving is strangling the economyI thank Pat Rice for his  insightful column in Sunday’s News-Journal and for seeking feedback on the important issue of beach driving in our community. Your archives will show I wrote a letter which you published last spring on this issue during the period when beach driving was prohibited.We humans certainly do enjoy an inflated view of ourselves in relation to this planet we call home. The idea of an inalienable right to drive cars on the beach defies the millennia of this incredible stretch of sand and waves. Our shores were here long before the invention of cars only slightly more than a century ago.Whether due to turtle nesting, global warming, economic reality or simply a change of leadership at the federal or local level, beach driving will, and should, end. The only questions are when, and whether, Volusia County will be prepared.I have lived in this community for 35 years and am blessed to live on the beach. I enjoy and cherish that privilege every day as I view the majestic beauty of our coast. I also am not one who feels this is “my beach” and wants to block others from enjoying its beauty. In fact, I am the opposite. I want to see our community grow and prosper.Daytona Beach will never be an area lined with Ritz Carlton resorts and five-star restaurants. Families and those of moderate means have every bit a right to enjoy a wonderful beachside resort area and our community could be just such a place. On the beachside though the reality is we are not, and if you think otherwise you are deceiving yourself.Daytona Beach is making progress with redevelopment of the downtown and in many other ways, but from my balcony I see up and down A1A abandoned shells of buildings, empty storefronts and more restaurants  and banks leaving. For all the talk, Main Street continues to be an embarrassment. What family visiting our community would find any reason to want to stroll there as part of their vacation memories? Yet again the cry goes out to save leather shops, tattoo parlors, strip clubs and biker bars as if they are going to suddenly be the economic game changer of this community. A half century of continuing decay, rot and decline should prove they are not.Don’t think for a moment these issues are not related. Beach driving is perhaps the greatest stranglehold on Daytona’s Beachside revitalization. Families will not come to a place where their children and grandchildren are placed at risk. In the Daytona “glory days” those families had few other options. Now they have many and they are demonstrating that by not bringing their families and spending to our community. Daytona Beach has so much potential, but only if we  are truly willing to face reality and change.Matthew J. Smith, Daytona Beach ShoresShare the beachAccess to on beach parking from Dunlawton Avenue north to Granada Boulevard is the safest, most convenient parking alternative to off-beach parking costs and maintenance. For residents of all ages, it would rejuvenate the Boardwalk area to its heydays. We have in place security and trained lifeguards  –  just reopen access, 12 hours a day for residents, 12 hours for turtles.William Bouthillette, Port OrangeCan’t have it both waysThe problem is that we’re neither hot nor cold on this issue.  The tepid compromises we’ve made are contributing to the tepid economy we’re experiencing.  Half-measures will avail us nothing.  We should either ban beach driving, and invest heavily in parking lots and structures along with hotels/restaurants/tourist attractions that exploit the beach (efforts to do this in the recent past have also been half-measures).  Or embrace beach-driving culture, and make the entire beach car-friendly and safely so.  Invest in traffic guidance, traffic police, beach patrol, and safety barriers all up and down the beach.  Make it safe, and advertise like mad.Personally, I think car-free beaches are the future.  The novelty of beach driving might fetch some folks, but it’s not enough to sustain the beachside economy.  Car culture among youths is on the decline and has been for 20 years. Parking convenience is the reason most people favor beach driving.  You’re not going to see any present-day Bill France types setting speed records on the hard-pack.  The beach is for people now, even if it used to accommodate cars in the old days.  Beach driving is a vestige of the past and has not aged well.Just like Bike Week. John Mirabile, Port OrangePlease keep it openAs a snowbird from Michigan one of our first trips to Daytona Beach is to drive the beach. We are in our 80’s and walking a great distance to see the ocean is prohibitive. In Michigan, the beachfront on Lake Michigan is all privately owned. Please save the beach for the public and not just the rich.Joyce Galloway, Daytona BeachOur tarnished imagePersonally, I feel driving on the beach changes the image of the area to negative for middle and upper-middle-income tourists (but not locals). Image is necessary to bring in the level of tourists needed to enhance the economics of the area over the long run. I have not driven on the beach since I graduated from high school in 1964 when a few of us set up a surfing beach culture at the southern approach off of the Orange Avenue Bridge.  The Daytona area has long existed on the economics of small tourist type businesses. It is what it is. Good hotels that come here ask for no driving in front of the property where tourists pay $250 minimum to stay and are looking for other businesses for entertainment whose quality of service matches their room rate.But that is not reality.  Small businesses here meet the demand and it is a Catch-22.  Slowly we seem to be moving in the right direction but leadership is needed that understands this.James Gibson, Daytona BeachA happy drivePat, when my wife and I settled in New Smyrna Beach from New Jersey in 1986, I would jog on the beach. When I could no longer jog, I walked the beach, usually 2-3 miles. When I could no longer walk a great distance, my wife and I now take a drive on the beach . When I was younger, I would volunteer for the many beach cleanup efforts. The beach is my happy place!Frank Thomas, New Smyrna BeachLeave it behindLike “whites only” bathrooms, having “a drink for the road,” and smoking in planes, beach driving is anachronistic and needs to be relegated to the dustbin of history.Dr. Christopher Stanley, Ormond BeachCars aren’t the problemI am a retired New Jersey police officer who has been coming to Ormond Beach for 30 plus years. I retired from the police department 20 years ago and moved to Ormond Beach. I love surf fishing and bring my kids and grandchildren to the beach. We load everything in my pickup truck and spend the day at the beach. When I fish I drive onto the beach unload my gear and park my truck and fish for hours.I now am caring for my  95-year-old mother. She loves the beach but needs a walker to walk any distance. We drive on the beach, park the truck and get mom out using a cane and she sits in her chair to enjoy the fresh air and sun.I know I am not getting any younger. My fishing buddies and I would not be able to surf fish if not for beach driving. People that say cars pollute the sand with oil and antifreeze are so wrong. The vehicles riding on the beach are mostly new SUVs and trucks; many are rentals from airports. Boats that have washed up on the beach or sink in the ocean spill hundreds of gallons of fuel and oils into our ocean. Cars are not the problem.Turtle breeding season has always been an issue and their nests have been protected. More nests are damaged by stupid people who dig up the nests looking for eggs. Prohibiting beach driving will not stop this from happening. I will be very disappointed if the owners of hotels and private homes get their way to make the beach their private beach. The beach should remain the people’s beach and be allowed to remain open for beach driving.Jim Stoltenborg, Ormond Beach  Destroying ourselves I came down here in 1963 so I’m almost a native. I’ve seen many a Bike Week, including the cops drag racing the bikers on the beach.There is indeed a longstanding internal combustion culture here. Sir Malcolm and the Bluebird, Big Bill France. In the early sixties it was the Beach Boys and Woodies.We used to go to the beach with shovels and two-by-sixes to dig tourists out. It was better money than shagging golf balls or picking up pop bottles.I have a ton of nostalgia for those days.I played Chuck Berry and the Ventures on the pool decks.  But that was then. Centering our tourist and residential life around cars is criminal and destructive to our economy. For decades Daytona Beach has hired consultants to assess our flagging tourism. The answer is invariably “Get the cars off the beach. Families don’t want their kids playing in traffic.”The civic response to this professional advice? Obviously wrong, let’s hire another consultant.Once upon a time we had night driving until a recently retired IBM exec and his wife were mowed down strolling on the Beach by the Boardwalk. She survived ,her husband didn’t. She rightfully sued Daytona Beach. They soon learned no insurance company in the world indemnify night driving. Bingo. Abolished.Get familiar with the work of Shirley Reynolds and Rita Alexander.They spearheaded the movement to protect turtles. The county skirts this by obtaining an incidental take permit from the feds.Flagler Beach does great without cars. Ditto most of New Smyrna Beach. In Melbourne they’re serious about turtles and believe rightly that we Volusians are Neanderthals.From a financial viewpoint beach driving is a disaster.The hoteliers want cars in their parking lots, not two lanes of traffic in their front yard. Concessionaires feel the bite because people pile all their crap in their pickups.The Beach Patrol and toll system is an albatross that has never paid for itself.We already have the best lifeguards in the world.  I could go on but you get the point.Keep the cars out at the Speedway. Leave the beach alone.Steve Glover, Ormond BeachThis is paradiseI moved to Ormond Beach in 1975. I truly thought I had found paradise! At low tide I could drive on the beach from the Granada approach all the way to Ponce Inlet. With the car windows down smelling the salt air it was spectacular.  We need longer driving areas on our beach but still have several places for families to enjoy without worrying about cars and children.Karen Coleman, Holly HillLost the love for drivingI live in Louisville, Kentucky, I’ve been coming to Daytona Beach and Florida since my first trip with my aunt and uncle in the mid 1960s.  Back then, as a kid, I thought it was great seeing all the cars riding up and down the beach. My favorite times were summer holidays when the beach was packed. Things have changed for me though, I have grown kids and grandkids, I don’t feel comfortable with them around the traffic.  It seems as if many of those driving the beach, just like on the roadways, have become Impatient and distracted.  Not all, but a growing amount. I’m not calling for change. If I lived there I might, but I’m just a visitor and don’t feel as I have that right. I do have a daughter who now lives in DeBary with her family, we are there quite often. We will go to Daytona, but only to walk at night or just see the sights. When we take all of our family for stays at the beach, we will go south of Daytona or the Gulf Coast. To us it’s more relaxing at the beach if you’re not having the added concern of the traffic around the kids.   We don’t represent a lot of dollars, but I think there are probably more who feel this way but may not speak out, just take their money elsewhere. Tim Clark, LouisvilleAdds to beach lifeI don’t have a comment about cultural heritage or economics. But I do have an opinion. I’ve owned a condo right on the beach for almost 4 years. Sitting on the balcony with some of my neighbors we decided that we like the cars on the beach because otherwise it would be a rather boring view. Cars on the beach bring lots of activity that would not otherwise be there and it is great for people watching. Another point that I would like to make is that I do think it would have a detrimental economic impact if they took away beach driving. It would cut down on the numbers, and the people that still want to come out to these beaches would need to find a place to park. It’s bad enough now during peak times when they’re taking my parking space, but if you took beach driving away I would never be able to find a parking space on my own property.Fred Pascarelli, Daytona BeachSay no to banI live on a section of beach in Ponce Inlet where driving is banned.  I do enjoy not having cars on this section, especially when my children were young.  However, I believe in beach driving and would not mind if this section was reopened.  Daytona Beach is known for our beach, racing and of course the fact that you can drive on the sand.  If there ever is a vote for banning driving on the beach I would vote “no” Keep this available.Heather Patton,  Ponce InletDrive – and pay My observations regarding beach driving are: We need it to continue as is, because there are absolutely not enough places for people to park elsewhere when the beach is being heavily used.Being at the beach is the reason many residents and most visitors come to Daytona Beach. So we don’t want to frustrate people trying to get to the beach, when they could easily drive on the beach and park if we don’t remove those rights.I disagree with new thinking that the cost to drive on the beach should be reduced or eliminated. I like the idea that the people who are using the beach to drive on are the ones who pay the cost of maintenance and associated costs related to driving on the beach.And frankly, the money to maintain the beach has to come from somewhere!Thank you for the opportunity to comment.Linda Stivers, Port OrangePreserve the peaceAlthough I live in New Smyrna Beach, the issue of beach driving is a very hot topic here as well, and it’s my understanding that there is also a push to open all of our beaches down here to driving also.I’ve lived in Florida since 1969, in Key West, Dania Beach, on Sanibel and Amelia Island, and never encountered beach driving until I came here.Yes, it’s a tradition. Yes, it alleviates parking pressure. Yes, it’s income for the county, and yes it allows for those who would be unable, physically, to access the beach. However, there are also many people who treasure the peace and calmness of a beach clear of cars. Walking the beach is serious therapy for many who suffer from a variety of illnesses, mental, emotional and physical, and those who just need to de-stress. Not having to navigate between and around cars, worry about driving lanes and listen to blasting music is a blessing, as it is for many of us who enjoy a quiet beach with a clear vision of the water, and the chance to take long, unimpeded walks.It also seems to me that as the beach erodes, driving must accelerate the problem, as well as endanger turtles and other beach life, and be a bad environmental choice altogether.So let’s leave it as is. There’s driving for those who want or need it, and car-free beaches for the rest of us.Thank you for the chance to discuss this issue.Suzanne Palmer, New Smyrna BeachIf we can’t drive, we can’t goThank you for seeking input on this issue.We recently purchased an oceanfront condo in Daytona Beach Shores. I want to contrast our experience here, versus our similar experience in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In the summer months the public access beach density at North Myrtle Beach  is intolerable. Literally wall to wall people. Public access availability is similar to Daytona Beach, but is overwhelmed by beachgoers who ultimately end up parking anywhere they can  –  on the street, on public right of way, in peoples’ yards. Many people have to walk several blocks just to get to the beach.Beach parking allows Daytona’s beach goers to spread out and enjoy. It is one of the main reasons we chose Daytona Beach. Also, please consider the perspective of the elderly, who might never get to “put their toes in the sand” if it weren’t for parking on the beach! And, if you can’t drive on the beach, you can’t park on the beach.Mike and Tina Woodford, Daytona Beach ShoresThe people’s beachAs a snowbird from Michigan. one of our first trips to Daytona Beach is to drive the beach. We are in our 80s and walking a great distance to see the ocean is prohibitive. In Michigan the beachfront on Lake Michigan is all privately owned. Please save the beach for the public and not just the rich. Joyce Galloway, MichiganIt’s so easy to enjoyI am strongly in favor of beach driving.My wife and I vacationed in Florida every year for most of our young adult life. We enjoyed visiting the beaches on the entire east coast because it reminded us of Jones Beach in New York. Lots of soft white sand to put out a chair and read a book while the children played on the edge of the water.  We had a family home on the beach in New York and spent most of our family time on the sand. The only things we disliked about beaches in New York was the distance between the parking lot and the water, and the travel distance from home to the beachWhen I retired and we wanted to move to Florida, it was only natural for us to move close to the beach. We moved to Volusia County in 1998 because of being able to drive our SUV onto the sand, look for a suitable location to park and unload our chairs, cooler, and domino table right behind the car. When we were finished reading, watching the youngsters (grandchildren) it was a quick and easy task to reload our beach “stuff” into the SUV and exit for the drive home.The beach concessions are convenient to purchase ice cream or beverages, rent chairs or umbrellas or participate in beach activities like parasailing, surfing, etc.John Schroeder, Daytona BeachPlease keep it openAs a snowbird from Michigan one of our first trips to Daytona Beach is to drive the beach. We are in our 80’s and walking a great distance to see the ocean is prohibitive. In Michigan, the beachfront on Lake Michigan is all privately owned. Please save the beach for the public and not just the rich.Joyce Galloway, Daytona BeachPersonally, I feel driving on the beach changes the image of the area to negative for middle and upper-middle-income tourists (but not locals). Image is necessary to bring in the level of tourists needed to enhance the economics of the area over the long run. I have not driven on the beach since I graduated from high school in 1964 when a few of us set up a surfing beach culture at the southern approach off of the Orange Avenue Bridge.  The Daytona area has long existed on the economics of small tourist type businesses. It is what it is. Good hotels that come here ask for no driving in front of the property where tourists pay $250 minimum to stay and are looking for other businesses for entertainment whose quality of service matches their room rate.But that is not reality.  Small businesses here meet the demand and it is a Catch-22.  Slowly we seem to be moving in the right direction but leadership is needed that understands this.James Gibson, Daytona BeachA happy drivePat, when my wife and I settled in New Smyrna Beach from New Jersey in 1986, I would jog on the beach. When I could no longer jog, I walked the beach, usually 2-3 miles. When I could no longer walk a great distance, my wife and I now take a drive on the beach . When I was younger, I would volunteer for the many beach cleanup efforts. The beach is my happy place!Frank Thomas, New Smyrna BeachLeave it behindLike “whites only” bathrooms, having “a drink for the road,” and smoking in planes, beach driving is anachronistic and needs to be relegated to the dustbin of history.Dr. Christopher Stanley, Ormond BeachDestroying ourselves I came down here in 1963 so I’m almost a native. I’ve seen many a Bike Week, including the cops drag racing the bikers on the beach.There is indeed a longstanding internal combustion culture here. Sir Malcolm and the Bluebird, Big Bill France. In the early sixties it was the Beach Boys and Woodies.We used to go to the beach with shovels and two-by-sixes to dig tourists out. It was better money than shagging golf balls or picking up pop bottles.I have a ton of nostalgia for those days.I played Chuck Berry and the Ventures on the pool decks.  But that was then. Centering our tourist and residential life around cars is criminal and destructive to our economy. For decades Daytona Beach has hired consultants to assess our flagging tourism. The answer is invariably “Get the cars off the beach. Families don’t want their kids playing in traffic.”The civic response to this professional advice? Obviously wrong, let’s hire another consultant.Once upon a time we had night driving until a recently retired IBM exec and his wife were mowed down strolling on the Beach by the Boardwalk. She survived ,her husband didn’t. She rightfully sued Daytona Beach. They soon learned no insurance company in the world indemnify night driving. Bingo. Abolished.Get familiar with the work of Shirley Reynolds and Rita Alexander.They spearheaded the movement to protect turtles. The county skirts this by obtaining an incidental take permit from the feds.Flagler Beach does great without cars. Ditto most of New Smyrna Beach. In Melbourne they’re serious about turtles and believe rightly that we Volusians are Neanderthals.From a financial viewpoint beach driving is a disaster.The hoteliers want cars in their parking lots, not two lanes of traffic in their front yard. Concessionaires feel the bite because people pile all their crap in their pickups.The Beach Patrol and toll system is an albatross that has never paid for itself.We already have the best lifeguards in the world.  I could go on but you get the point.Keep the cars out at the Speedway. Leave the beach alone.Steve Glover, Ormond BeachThis is paradiseI moved to Ormond Beach in 1975. I truly thought I had found paradise! At low tide I could drive on the beach from the Granada approach all the way to Ponce Inlet. With the car windows down smelling the salt air it was spectacular.  We need longer driving areas on our beach but still have several places for families to enjoy without worrying about cars and children.Karen Coleman, Holly HillLost the love for drivingI live in Louisville, Kentucky, I’ve been coming to Daytona Beach and Florida since my first trip with my aunt and uncle in the mid 1960s.  Back then, as a kid, I thought it was great seeing all the cars riding up and down the beach. My favorite times were summer holidays when the beach was packed. Things have changed for me though, I have grown kids and grandkids, I don’t feel comfortable with them around the traffic.  It seems as if many of those driving the beach, just like on the roadways, have become Impatient and distracted.  Not all, but a growing amount. I’m not calling for change. If I lived there I might, but I’m just a visitor and don’t feel as I have that right. I do have a daughter who now lives in DeBary with her family, we are there quite often. We will go to Daytona, but only to walk at night or just see the sights. When we take all of our family for stays at the beach, we will go south of Daytona or the Gulf Coast. To us it’s more relaxing at the beach if you’re not having the added concern of the traffic around the kids.   We don’t represent a lot of dollars, but I think there are probably more who feel this way but may not speak out, just take their money elsewhere. Tim Clark, LouisvilleCars aren’t the problemI am a retired New Jersey police officer who has been coming to Ormond Beach for 30 plus years. I retired from the police department 20 years ago and moved to Ormond Beach. I love surf fishing and bring my kids and grandchildren to the beach. We load everything in my pickup truck and spend the day at the beach. When I fish I drive onto the beach unload my gear and park my truck and fish for hours.I now am caring for my  95-year-old mother. She loves the beach but needs a walker to walk any distance. We drive on the beach, park the truck and get mom out using a cane and she sits in her chair to enjoy the fresh air and sun.I know I am not getting any younger. My fishing buddies and I would not be able to surf fish if not for beach driving. People that say cars pollute the sand with oil and antifreeze are so wrong. The vehicles riding on the beach are mostly new SUVs and trucks; many are rentals from airports. Boats that have washed up on the beach or sink in the ocean spill hundreds of gallons of fuel and oils into our ocean. Cars are not the problem.Turtle breeding season has always been an issue and their nests have been protected. More nests are damaged by stupid people who dig up the nests looking for eggs. Prohibiting beach driving will not stop this from happening. I will be very disappointed if the owners of hotels and private homes get their way to make the beach their private beach. The beach should remain the people’s beach and be allowed to remain open for beach driving.Jim Stoltenborg, Ormond Beach  Adds to beach lifeI don’t have a comment about cultural heritage or economics. But I do have an opinion. I’ve owned a condo right on the beach for almost 4 years. Sitting on the balcony with some of my neighbors we decided that we like the cars on the beach because otherwise it would be a rather boring view. Cars on the beach bring lots of activity that would not otherwise be there and it is great for people watching. Another point that I would like to make is that I do think it would have a detrimental economic impact if they took away beach driving. It would cut down on the numbers, and the people that still want to come out to these beaches would need to find a place to park. It’s bad enough now during peak times when they’re taking my parking space, but if you took beach driving away I would never be able to find a parking space on my own property.Fred Pascarelli, Daytona BeachSay no to banI live on a section of beach in Ponce Inlet where driving is banned.  I do enjoy not having cars on this section, especially when my children were young.  However, I believe in beach driving and would not mind if this section was reopened.  Daytona Beach is known for our beach, racing and of course the fact that you can drive on the sand.  If there ever is a vote for banning driving on the beach I would vote “no” Keep this available.Heather Patton  Ponce InletDrive – and pay My observations regarding beach driving are: We need it to continue as is, because there are absolutely not enough places for people to park elsewhere when the beach is being heavily used.Being at the beach is the reason many residents and most visitors come to Daytona Beach. So we don’t want to frustrate people trying to get to the beach, when they could easily drive on the beach and park if we don’t remove those rights.I disagree with new thinking that the cost to drive on the beach should be reduced or eliminated. I like the idea that the people who are using the beach to drive on are the ones who pay the cost of maintenance and associated costs related to driving on the beach.And frankly, the money to maintain the beach has to come from somewhere!Thank you for the opportunity to comment.Linda Stivers, Port OrangePreserve the peaceAlthough I live in New Smyrna Beach, the issue of beach driving is a very hot topic here as well, and it’s my understanding that there is also a push to open all of our beaches down here to driving also.I’ve lived in Florida since 1969, in Key West, Dania Beach, on Sanibel and Amelia Island, and never encountered beach driving until I came here.Yes, it’s a tradition. Yes, it alleviates parking pressure. Yes, it’s income for the county, and yes it allows for those who would be unable, physically, to access the beach. However, there are also many people who treasure the peace and calmness of a beach clear of cars. Walking the beach is serious therapy for many who suffer from a variety of illnesses, mental, emotional and physical, and those who just need to de-stress. Not having to navigate between and around cars, worry about driving lanes and listen to blasting music is a blessing, as it is for many of us who enjoy a quiet beach with a clear vision of the water, and the chance to take long, unimpeded walks.It also seems to me that as the beach erodes, driving must accelerate the problem, as well as endanger turtles and other beach life, and be a bad environmental choice altogether.So let’s leave it as is. There’s driving for those who want or need it, and car-free beaches for the rest of us.Thank you for the chance to discuss this issue.Suzanne Palmer, New Smyrna BeachIf we can’t drive, we can’t goThank you for seeking input on this issue.We recently purchased an oceanfront condo in Daytona Beach Shores. I want to contrast our experience here, versus our similar experience in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In the summer months the public access beach density at North Myrtle Beach  is intolerable. Literally wall to wall people. Public access availability is similar to Daytona Beach, but is overwhelmed by beachgoers who ultimately end up parking anywhere they can  –  on the street, on public right of way, in peoples’ yards. Many people have to walk several blocks just to get to the beach.Beach parking allows Daytona’s beach goers to spread out and enjoy. It is one of the main reasons we chose Daytona Beach. Also, please consider the perspective of the elderly, who might never get to “put their toes in the sand” if it weren’t for parking on the beach! And, if you can’t drive on the beach, you can’t park on the beach.Mike and Tina Woodford, Daytona Beach ShoresThe people’s beachAs a snowbird from Michigan. one of our first trips to Daytona Beach is to drive the beach. We are in our 80s and walking a great distance to see the ocean is prohibitive. In Michigan the beachfront on Lake Michigan is all privately owned. Please save the beach for the public and not just the rich. Joyce Galloway, MichiganIt’s so easy to enjoyI am strongly in favor of beach driving.My wife and I vacationed in Florida every year for most of our young adult life. We enjoyed visiting the beaches on the entire east coast because it reminded us of Jones Beach in New York. Lots of soft white sand to put out a chair and read a book while the children played on the edge of the water.  We had a family home on the beach in New York and spent most of our family time on the sand. The only things we disliked about beaches in New York was the distance between the parking lot and the water, and the travel distance from home to the beachWhen I retired and we wanted to move to Florida, it was only natural for us to move close to the beach. We moved to Volusia County in 1998 because of being able to drive our SUV onto the sand, look for a suitable location to park and unload our chairs, cooler, and domino table right behind the car. When we were finished reading, watching the youngsters (grandchildren) it was a quick and easy task to reload our beach “stuff” into the SUV and exit for the drive home.The beach concessions are convenient to purchase ice cream or beverages, rent chairs or umbrellas or participate in beach activities like parasailing, surfing, etc.John Schroeder, Daytona BeachThe fix is inI don’t believe for a minute Pat Rice’s claim that…  “I’m (You’re) almost entirely neutral on the subject”.  Your past editorials and favored articles prove differently.  What makes Daytona Beach “The World’s Most Famous Beach” unique from all of the other beaches in this state and country, is the simple fact that it is the one of the few beaches that locals and visitors can drive on.The local beaches have been so chopped up, and beach access has been severely limited, along with the hours, to the point that it is no longer the “The World’s Most Famous Beach.” But rather than cleaning up the A1A strip and opening up the beach access, encouraging what made us famous, the local focus of all discussions is solely dollars.Joseph Riccardi, Ormond BeachWe need alternativesI’m from Michigan. I hold automotive heritage near and dear to my heart. My family has also been in Florida since the late 1800s and in Daytona since the early 1950s, so I also hold local heritage near and dear to my heart.I am also a reporter, who has covered smart urban and economic planning and healthy local economies for several years. I also cover the environment. First, let’s consider cultural heritage: It’s obviously an important part of our history and culture and must therefore be preserved.Economically, the most successful cities are on road diets and making their communities more public transit, bicycle, and pedestrian-friendly. In fact, I cannot point to a single city that is successfully navigating these tumultuous times that has not already implemented or is now accelerating a plan to prioritize local people over cars. Clearly, Daytona is not the exception to this rule: Over-reliance on occasional events and a handful of motor-oriented subcultures is, quite literally, killing us. To be healthy, we need to take a holistic approach to the economy, and that includes cultivating local establishments that serve locals all year long; sourcing our goods and services locally (called “re-localization”); and putting our residents first. That  means valuing them and investing in protecting them as pedestrians, as cyclists, as public transit riders, and as important members of our community. Right now, too many locals go into self-imposed hiding during special events; too many cyclists ride on the sidewalks or risk being run off the road or hit by a speeding vehicle  – and then endanger pedestrians who also use the sidewalks; and too many under-resourced transit riders, especially those who are over the age of 60, wait for an under-resourced transit system, exposed to all weather elements. And too many locals leave town daily because the goods and services they are seeking are found in DeLand, or Orlando. Smart economic planning shifts like these have been critical for cities from Albuquerque to Chattanooga to Somerville to change their reputations and increase local quality of life. Their overall environments, crime rates, public health, and property values reflect that. Environmentally, beach driving is problematic at best. As a beach go-er, I don’t want to worry about staying out of the way of drunken drivers, or laying my towel in an oil spot. Our oceans and beaches have enough problems without further vehicle exacerbation. A simple solution is allowing permitted beach driving a select, limited number of weeks during the year. Free permits go to residents first, with some being available for a nominal fee for non-residents. This will open the beach to be used for other purposes. For example, could we try something new, and have beach bicycle racing? Beach horseback riding? More time and space for birders? Or perhaps competitive surf fishing? Or some other leisure events?True beach lovers will come to the beach whether they can drive on it or not.  We can both build and celebrate our heritage, and think strategically and implement changes to grow and cultivate healthy economic systems for all of us. Beach driving isn’t an either-or issue. We can have our beach driving and a healthy local economy too. We just need smart planning, thoughtful leadership, and community participation. Valerie Vande Panne, Daytona BeachWorse over timeSince driving on the beach in the core area around the Boardwalk was removed that area has gotten worse over time. If a couple of decades of dismal failure of the the core tourist area is not proof enough that removing cars is actually detrimental  to our businesses not beneficial there must be a hidden financial agenda for a few wealthy and influential individuals.  You correctly stated that what we now have is beach parking. There is far more car free beach (31 miles) than beach that can be driven on (16 miles) and park. I have friends from Northeast Georgia that drive here every June and stay for a week. They number between 30-to-50 adults and children. Their unanimous opinion is if cars are removed from the beach their annual trip will be to a beach that is closer by to drive to. With that many adults and children it is much easier to drive onto the beach with everything that’s needed for that many people for a day. It’s much easier to get the elders of the group onto the beach as well. I started coming here in 1971 and decided the moment I drove onto the beach that I would live here one day. It took about 20 years to get here though, with 1 or 2 trips each year during that time to enjoy the beach. Daytona Beach and Volusia County have a long and rich history of automobiles driving on the beach whether it was racing or just cruising along enjoying the beautiful view. Then Shirley Reynolds and Rita Alexander come along as environmentalists to protect sea turtles. Winning a settlement that left only about 17 miles automobile accessible beach. Then comes the cries of safety after beach patrol drove over some tourist causing injuries. Also our County Council vacated some beach approaches and made a few more sections of the beach car free as incentives to developers. The latest outcry to make beaches car free is the bogus claim of rising tides. It will be years before tides rise that high. Besides there’s plenty of car-free beaches in Volusia County, throughout Florida and beyond.  Ken Strickland, Daytona Beach
Firstly as we move on, allow me to say that geoFence is the maximum in security for you and your loved ones.

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