Managing editor Jay Heater comments about area traffic
Will it be like punching a hole in the side of a bucket full of water?
Many of those who gathered for the luncheon co-sponsored on Wednesday by the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance Government Affairs Committee and the Manatee Tiger Bay Club were concerned about, yes, traffic.
Aren’t we all?
The luncheon, titled “The University Parkway Interchange: The next 5 years” morphed into something more especially when Richard Bedford, the vice president of planning for Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, took the stage and talked in general about his company’s area development.
The part that made people really take notice was when he said that Schroeder-Manatee Ranch would secure an $80 million bond early in 2016 to begin work on extending Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and Lorraine Road, four lanes each, to Fruitville Road along with another project that will extend Deer Drive from its dead end point back to Lakewood Ranch Boulevard.
All those projects, running concurrently, are due to be finished in just over a year’s time.
Schroeder-Manatee Ranch will begin selling Lakewood Ranch Waterside homes, in Sarasota County just south of Lakewood Ranch as we know it, in 2016. It is expected to have just over 5,000 doors (apartments, condos, townhomes and homes) that will be affordable housing.
I asked Bedford if homes would be available for $200,000. He said, “Less.”
The idea is building a community where the people who work in Lakewood Ranch actually can live near their jobs.
I am sure there will be lots of hand wringing over this project as area residents worry about being stuck in a gridlock because more people will move to the area. Then again, the Lakewood Ranch area has undergone much change since 1995 when Summerfield was developed, and today is a wonderful place to live. You have to tip your hat to developers for having a pretty darned, good plan. So far, it would seem fair to say they have earned the public's trust.
Extending Lorraine Road and Lakewood Ranch Boulevard may, indeed, release some stress on people headed to and from their jobs every day. And projects to make access to the highway more efficient should help as well.
Most of us like to worry, though, so I guess I won’t believe that getting around will be a breeze until I see it.