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Not just a bump in the road

Heritage Harbour residents search for solutions to speeding in their community.

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  • | 10:10 a.m. June 26, 2019
  • East County
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Gene Zeiner and Tad Parker, residents of the Heritage Harbour neighborhood, were shocked when they saw the numbers.

During a three-week span ending June 2, nearly 100,000 vehicles traveled River Heritage Boulevard, one of the major roadways leading into their community.

Not only that, but a radar sign also had clocked drivers at top speeds of 99 mph on the 30-mph speed limit road. Although average speeds were lower, the percentage of drivers speeding was still high. Eighty-eight percent of drivers sped northbound, while 55% sped southbound, according to traffic data.

“We want to put in speed bumps to slow them down,” said Zeiner, president of the Heritage Harbour Master Association. “Fire departments generally object to them, but with these numbers, we’ve got to do something.”

Parker and Zeiner are members of the Joint Task Force on Traffic Calming, which was created by the Heritage Harbour South Community Development District two months ago. The group has representatives from Heritage Harbour’s various stakeholders — the Heritage Harbour South, Heritage Harbour North and Market Place community development districts and the River Strand, Stoneybrook, Lighthouse Cove and Heritage Harbour Master homeowners associations — and will come up with recommendations for traffic calming.

The task force has some ideas already: more speed bumps or speed tables and roundabouts.

“We can demonstrate we need to do this,” Zeiner said, pointing to the paper showing three weeks’ worth of data.

Zeiner said the next step is to add speed bumps or something similar to River Heritage Boulevard.

Parker said such speeds are occurring even before Port Harbour Parkway opens from its easternmost point to Upper Manatee River Road farther east. Medallion Home is building the roadway extension as part of its 289-acre, 1,400-home Water Color Place project, immediately south of the Waterlefe Golf and River Club and west of Upper Manatee River Road. Traffic from Upper Manatee River Road is expected to use the Manatee County-owned Port Harbour Parkway as an alternative to State Road 64 or as a way to the Costco shopping center.

“Ideally, we’d like some roundabouts — that would satisfy everybody,” said Parker, who represents the Heritage Harbour South CDD.

Parker said the task force is considering two on River Heritage Boulevard, though exact locations still need to be determined. Most likely, it would replace the speed bumps over time.

Preliminary estimates are $125,000 per roundabout, and no money is funded for such a project in any of the association or CDD budgets. Technically, the Heritage Harbour South CDD owns the road, but the Master Association is tasked with its maintenance.

Parker said there is space within the roadway to build the roundabouts or modified roundabouts within the CDD’s existing right of way. He said the roundabouts would be aesthetically pleasing and help slow traffic.

Zeiner said that although four more speed bumps likely can be added within a year, the concept of roundabouts still needs to be approved and likely would not be constructed for about five years.

“Personally, I’d like to see it sooner,” he said. “It’s coming up with the dollars.”

To enhance traffic calming and prepare for the August opening of the Costco Warehouse, the Heritage Harbour South CDD in May added two speed bumps on Lighthouse Drive for a total of $12,000. The road is the future back entrance to the Costco shopping center, now under construction at the northeast corner of State Road 64 and Interstate 75.


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