Side of Ranch: Jay Heater
I think Louis Armstrong would have driven around Lakewood Ranch singing "What a Wonderful World."
But even if things are pretty darned good in one of America's top-selling communities, there are things that just make you wonder.
*I wonder, for instance, if Florida Department of Transportation and Manatee County officials are going to get together to fix a dangerous situation at State Road 70 and White Eagle Boulevard before someone dies there.
You don't need to spend a bunch of money for this. Just don't allow left-hand turns from S.R. 70 going east on to White Eagle, and don't allow left-hand turns from White Eagle on to S.R. 70. Block it off. Just say no.
What happens is crummy drivers get tired of waiting to make a left, and dart in front of cars that are going 70 miles per hour. I think many of us are hoping we aren't collateral damage in such a stupid move.
I get notes from the community all the time about this problem, including this one the other day from Esplanade resident Mike Krakow.
"Each time I leave my home and head to S.R. 70 and White Eagle Boulevard, I have continued thoughts of 'What are we waiting for?' Must we wait until someone gets killed in a tragic accident on that corner before the county might do something about installing a traffic light at that juncture?"
I hear you, Mike. Does anyone else?
*As long as we are talking about White Eagle Boulevard, I wonder about the resiliency of bald eagles every time I drive past Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church.
After the bald eagles had built and used a fortress nest in the tree along the roadway for several years, it somehow collapsed last spring. I wasn't sure if someone wanted to see them go away, but a check with eagle experts say the nests often fall and are rebuilt. Well, I am here to tell you, the eagles are still there, and a joy to see each day.
*After watching those bald eagles, it would be nice to go over to The Green and enjoy an Irish brew at Irish 31 Pub, but you have to wonder if that is going to happen. It was a year ago Tavistock Development announced the Irish pub and eatery would fill one of the major dining spots at The Green, and the "Coming soon" sign went up. It still is up.
Irish Pub 31 executives have said little about the hold-up, although a spokesperson for the chain said some zoning issues were slowing things down. For me, it means going someone else for a beer, for the business owners in The Green, it means less foot traffic in the evenings, and that has been cause for irritation.
*If you have driven around The Green lately, you probably have used Rangeland Parkway in that stretch. I wonder if the very nice medians, filled with vegetation, are going to cause accidents. Cars zip along that stretch of road and when you are making a left-hand turn, it can be hard to see very far down the road. I've almost been blasted a few times already. If you come out of the parking lot onto Boardwalk Loop at Main Street at Lakewood Ranch you likely have experienced similar things, albeit at lower speeds.
*If you are in a hurry, you can get on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and go as fast as you want. I wonder if the new deputies included in the county budget will allow for more speed checks. If you want to see speed checks, go over to White Eagle Boulevard because they are out there often. Since that is used by far fewer cars, I wonder why?
*When you drive east on University Parkway on a Saturday, you have to wonder if the diverging diamond construction, in all its glory, will be able to handle our tremendous growth. It took me three changed lights to get through the same light under the interchange.
*I wonder if there is a state law that requires Lakewood Ranch area apartment complexes to use strange exterior colors. Does anyone out there agree with me on this one?
*I wonder if this new $130 million aquarium at Benderson Park will break ground next summer. It seems like a big enough deal that Sarasota County officials would sit down at the table and figure out what they are going to do to get behind it. I wonder why this has to drag on, and on.
*I wonder how long it will take the county to start building a second Fort Hamer Bridge. You see the construction and hundreds of homes on the way, and that corridor headed down Upper Manatee River Road to the bridge doesn't work now. Yikes.
*I wonder why county officials believe expanding Lorraine Road to four lanes through State Road 64 isn't a high priority. I have heard they expect traffic to take White Eagle Boulevard instead of Lorraine once the roundabout at S.R. 64 and White Eagle is finished. Perhaps they haven't noticed that White Eagle ends at State Road 70 at a horrific intersection while Lorraine Road goes through to Fruitville Road. Good luck with that one.
*I wonder if Lakewood Ranch residents will have any success pressuring the county to speed up the building of amenities adjacent to Premier Sports Campus. Myself, I am hoping to see concerts in an amphitheater there. Unfortunately, by the time they get done, they will have to wheel out Bruce Springsteen.
*I wonder what it would take to get an In-N-Out Burger joint to come to the area. Hey, it's all about me.