Since May, Siesta Isles Association President Tony Romanus has avoided taking a left turn from Glebe Lane onto Midnight Pass Road. The 10-year island resident realized how dangerous the maneuver was after he met with Florida Department of Transportation staff about roadway safety at the subdivision inlet at Shadow Lawn Drive.
The May meeting grew out of the fallout from the Jan. 7 hit-and-run accident on the curve on Midnight Pass Road that killed Donna Chen.
At the end of October, eight months after the Siesta Isles Association board sent a letter to FDOT about the treacherous curve, the state removed a tree that once blocked the view of traffic, and the organization has spent upward of $1,000 to increase visibility at the location.
“I think what that created was an opportunity to get the ear of people who could effect change,” Romanus said.
Ultimately, three property owners agreed to shrink their backyards and taper their fences inward as part of the effort. The Siesta Isles Association paid for the fencing replacement and allowed one resident a height variance to shade headlights from vehicles traveling onto Shadow Lawn Way.
“It was surprising how cooperative everybody was,” Romanus said.
Romanus sent an email to FDOT the week before November to ask about the possibility of convex mirrors that bend a vehicle’s reflection so they can be seen by other vehicles trying to turn onto Midnight Pass Road.
One of the newly elected Siesta Isles Association board members could serve as the liaison to government and civic organizations, Romanus said. The organization worked with the state, the county and Florida Power & Light to have trees reaching into a clump of power lines removed and landscaping cleared. And, communication with St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church led to the removal of at least five trees from the church’s property, which is on the corner of Midnight Pass Road and Glebe Lane.
“It’s still not great, but it’s better than it was,” Romanus said.