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Opinion
Sarasota Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 1 year ago

Letters to the Editor

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by: Observer Staff

+ Stickney Point Bridge sign is causing backups
This letter was originally sent to the Florida Department of Transportation.
Good day, Mr. Weaver:
I called today and left a message, however I thought I’d drop you a line as well regarding the recently installed no turn on red sign directing traffic northbound onto Midnight Pass Road on Siesta Key. In the paper, in one grand misstatement, spokesperson Robin Stublen is quoted as stating he had a call from a citizen (one?) and that the sign installation “ … doesn’t impede the flow of traffic.” This is patently false.
The installation of this sign does, in fact, cause traffic to back up well beyond any point it ever has, baring the bridge being raised. With the bridge down, cars are backed up further than I’ve ever seen in 15 years of living on the Key. I’ve spoken with numerous locals, and all agree it’s a nightmare. In fact, many of us are now using the other bridge more and more, which in turn is increasing backups on that bridge. I have seen people making U-turns on the approach, after getting frustrated with sitting for more than 23 minutes trying to get on the Key.

As far as I can tell there have been no accidents at that intersection, unlike many other areas along Midnight Pass, etc. I feel this sign was a knee-jerk reaction to a few complaints and was a knee-jerk reaction/”easy fix” for a nonexistent problem, but has now caused one.

For years we have done just fine with the “right turn permitted as long as no pedestrians are crossing” sign. 

Please reconsider this decision. I can’t believe any substantial research had been done with regard to traffic impact. All one has to do is sit at the corner for a few hours and see just how badly the back up has become.

Thank you for your time.
Regards,
Joel Fried
Siesta Key

+ Buchanan seems to be a follower, not a leader
Dear Editor:
Congressman Vern Buchanan is a reliable Republican vote in Congress. His unvarying pattern of vote-casting follows in lockstep with the wishes of the party leadership. The interview by Editor Matt Walsh in the Feb. 20 issue reveals why this is so. Walsh states, “He ... knows that votes that buck the party establishment can mean banishment to the House basement and a legislative career of obscurity ... ” So, the Congressman votes not in the best interests of our country ... or, the interests of his district ... but, to ingratiate himself with his party to advance his career! How sad.

The chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota County was quoted as saying, “The most important thing in politics is raising money.” Congressman Buchanan is said to be very good at that. Much of the interview was devoted to describing the means he has to raise party capital. Is this what we want of our congressional representative ... a follower but not a leader? A fundraiser for the already wealthy?

I think not.

Carl Morrison
Sarasota

+ Bus station could move to bowling alley site
Dear Editor:
In response to your article, “SCAT station could get new home,” I am a downtown resident and a property owner near the suggested alternative bus station at the corner of Ringling and School Avenue.
I am opposed to this proposed site for many reasons, including:

1. It will increase bus traffic on neighborhood streets in Ringling Park, Paver Park and Alta Vista neighborhoods as well as smaller downtown connecter streets, which already have too much traffic (for example, the intersection of Ringling and U.S. 301 and the stretch of 301 between Ringling and Brother Geenen are already highly congested and would likely see increased use by buses if the station relocates to Ringling).

2. The small site and lack of nearby amenities will encourage bus riders and homeless individuals to migrate to and congregate in Payne Park, which could decrease use of the recently installed and expensive playground for children and the Frisbee golf equipment.

3. It will discourage the redevelopment of the surrounding area for mixed use on currently vacant or unused sites on School Avenue and the former Publix at the Ringling Shopping Center and possibly even the site acquired by the city on 301 for the baseball stadium project that fell through. The proximity of these sites to Payne Park could lead to more up-market development of the area and a nice tax benefit to the city, which could be stymied by relocating the bus station next door.

In short, the suggested site is too close to residences, too small and located too much within the downtown interior and it will not be an improvement on the existing facility. In my opinion, relocating the bus station to this location would be a waste of taxpayers’ money and could potentially reduce the city’s tax base in the future.

I propose another location: I think that an ideal location would be the bowling alley site on Fruitville and Lime. This site is large and is located on a main thoroughfare. The property could be constructed so that a new bowling alley is built above the bus station, giving downtown residents a state-of-the-art recreational facility and giving this existing business a new source of patrons (bus riders, including kids, waiting for bus service could use the bowling alley and any adjoining food service facility). The new bowling facility could be designed with children’s safety in mind, such as separate restrooms/changing areas and even separate bowling lanes. 

Using this location, in my opinion, could also promote the redevelopment of the surrounding areas with more affordable, or mid-market, residences and businesses, which is more compatible with a bus station. For example it could promote the sale of the Vengroff property nearby, help prevent further deterioration of houses in the Park North neighborhood and revitalize the North Lime shopping district. The city beautified this area a few years ago but new businesses did not follow. This could help bring the needed pedestrian traffic.

Chris Jaensch
Sarasota

 

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