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Opinion
East County Wednesday, Apr. 22, 2015 5 years ago

Letters to the editor

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Traffic woes will grow with Lakewood Ranch

After reading your article in the past East County Observer that a new traffic light will be coming to the intersection of State Road 70 and Greenbrook Boulevard in the near future, I can only think that this will cause even more motorist/driving issues at the intersection of State Road 70 and Lorraine Road that is located just to the east of Greenbrook Boulevard.

With eastbound traffic on S.R. 70 now being stopped at the Greenbrook traffic signal, upon proceeding, there will be a higher volume of traffic bunched together approaching the Lorraine Road intersection. Motorists proceeding eastbound through this intersection will suddenly realize that the right-hand lane becomes a right-turn-only lane, but it is by no means a properly marked merge lane for a 60 mph road. As a matter of fact, there is no signage even stating the lane will end and to merge left; the only signage states the right hand lane must turn right. For motorists to merge left and continue eastbound, there are only approximately 10 car lengths to do this lawfully. After that, painted on the road is a solid white line separating the lanes, thus by law making you turn right onto Arbor Green Trail. This turn is generally not the end result; in most cases, it turns into a drag race for the left lane, either leaving merging traffic slamming on the brakes or going off the road, or the right of way traffic being forced into the grass median to avoid merging traffic. Trust me, I’ve have personally witnessed some ridiculous, dangerous and borderline road-rage driving practices over the years with drivers completely off the shoulder of the road well after the turn lane ended, trying to merge left. 

Florida Drivers Handbook, Chapter 4: Signs, signals and pavement markings,

Solid white line: 

A solid white line marks the edge of the roadway or separates lanes of traffic moving in the same direction. You may travel in the same direction on both sides of this line, but you should not cross the line unless you must do so to avoid a hazard.

Dropping a three-lane road down to one lane in such a short distance is at the least extremely dangerous. The DOT needs to study this intersection and greatly extend this lane to give drivers a safe and legal method to merge and add a third right-hand turning lane. 

This intersection has been like this for many years when traffic loads in the area were far less. I would expect with the addition of the new Wawa gas station and another massive Lakewood Ranch development breaking ground just to the east that a major portion of the improvement costs of this intersection would fall to these developers as required offsite improvements due to the increased traffic in the area and not solely to the taxpayers. I was very surprised that improvements of this area were not required when the Premier Sports Campus at Lakewood Ranch was built. This complex, at the time of special events, adds thousands of drivers to the area (mostly from out of town and not familiar with the local roads), which again creates additional driving hazards for an already dangerous intersection. 

In my opinion, a follow-up article addressing some of these growing traffic issues in not only this area but multiple surrounding Lakewood Ranch areas would be appropriate and much appreciated. I would be curious to see if other Manatee County residents share some of the same concerns as Lakewood Ranch continues to grow. I will be forwarding this letter to Manatee County as well as FDOT to seek corrective action concerning issues at this intersection and to request a little more attention to the ever increasing traffic loads that Lakewood Ranch continues to bring to the area. 

Thank you for your time in looking into this situation.

 

Chuck Younger

Myakka City   

 

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