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Opinion
Sarasota Tuesday, Apr. 2, 2019 7 months ago

Letters to the editor

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Readers sound off on key issues.
by: Guest Writer

Narrowing Fruitville: What a lousy joke

When I read your April 1 article about the single-lane narrowing of a portion of Fruitville Road from Lemon to Cocoanut, I sincerely thought it was an extension of the phony news you drolly ran on the first four pages as an April Fools’ joke. My brain rejected the possibility that reasonable humans could conjure such foolishness in earnest.

Traffic backs up on westbound Fruitville daily for about a half-mile. Smack in the middle of that traffic, engineers expect to squeeze all those idling cars into half the space they are currently traversing at about 3 mph, illogically claiming drivers will save a whopping 48 seconds. Have you ever been on a highway with a shift-over where one lane is closed for construction that has resulted in your traveling more rapidly?

Think of an hourglass. if the entire vessel were wide, the sand would pour through in seconds. It is narrowed in the center precisely for the purpose of impeding the sand’s progress, significantly slowing it down.

This same architecture results in fatal consequences when a clot slows down the movement of blood through a vessel. The blood struggles to traverse the narrowed space around the clot and the oxygen-deprived tissues upstream perish. The road designers are proposing to install a horizontal hour glass with clots to speed up the flow of traffic?

One ancillary motivating factor for this $9.5 million-plus project is safer pedestrian crossings. OK. A pedestrian comes along and invokes her right-of- way with a light, causing these painfully squeezed vehicles to stop, and totally defeating the “traffic flow” concept at the core of roundabout success.

I’ve lived north of Fruitville and crossed on foot many times into town at these three intersections during morning rush hour. It’s never felt dangerous. I press the crossing button, and I cross when it’s green. Why does this need improvement?

Oh, yes, another goal is to widen the sidewalks for pedestrians and trees. Consider that if our commissioners had required non-invasive setbacks that don’t hover at lot lines, they might have preserved the once-comfortable walking and landscape space that has been usurped by recently approved developments.

Too bad it wasn’t a joke. Instead, everyone in this town — road designers, politicians and taxpayers — emerges a fool.

Sandra R. Tessler

Sarasota

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