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CDD1 pushes for changes to Lakewood Ranch/Clubhouse signal plans

Some Summerfield and Riverwalk residents want additional turn lanes taken out of Manatee County's plan.

Residents said cars often speed through the intersection.
Residents said cars often speed through the intersection.
Photo by Ian Swaby
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After plans to build a traffic light for the Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and Clubhouse Drive intersection were placed on an indefinite hold in August, a Community Development District official said his board is hoping to push Manatee County toward getting the project underway. 

Alan Roth, the chair of Lakewood Ranch District 1, which oversees the Summerfield and Riverwalk areas, said Dec. 13 that the board also would like to see some changes to the original proposal if the project does get the green light.

Roth said the CDD has waited to make inquiries about the project because it didn't want to burden the county during the cleanup after Hurricane Ian.

The initial project was set to begin late this year but was put on hold by District 5 Commissioner Vanessa Baugh and the county’s Public Works staff.

Part of the county's five-year Capital Improvement Plan, the project, budgeted at $2,242,997, had completed its design phase and had been scheduled to move on to construction.

The plan for the traffic signal was to include turn lanes being added to Clubhouse Drive, which meant seven properties would be impacted. The county would have to remove 4.5 feet of frontage property, that included driveway space, to build the turn lanes.

Some of the residents said additional lanes on Clubhouse Drive were not needed, and therefore the county had no need to remove the frontage property to accommodate them.

Resident Martin Antonetti, who lives at the northwest corner of Clubhouse Drive and Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, said with the original proposal, he would have lost not only a portion of his yard, but also a mature live oak tree.

“That would be a disaster,” he said. “The light itself is not a bad idea, but the widening of the road, and the extra right turn lane, is way too much.”

He said the amount of traffic on Clubhouse Drive was considerably less than the amount on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard.

He also said he was looking for something that was not a “really big” stoplight system, but something with a smaller, more discrete design. 

John Kravontka lives across the street from Antonetti and also stands to lose some of his front lawn and driveway. He also doesn't see the need to construct additional lanes coming out of his neighborhood.

He also said the county hasn't approached him about making up for the land lost in front of his home.

Kravontka said he was pleased Baugh had acted upon the residents' concerns and slowed down the project.

Even so, Kravontka still wants some form of traffic control at the intersection.

Now a four-way stop intersection, he said cars runs through the stop signs, even when bicyclists or pedestrians are crossing.

Kravontka said if a new traffic light design is proposed, he hopes for a smart light that would coordinate the traffic flow.

He also said a roundabout would be a good option as it would keep traffic flowing.

Roth said, personally, he was not highly in favor of a red light at the intersection. He said the county might consider blinking yellow lights before the four-way stop might solve the problem of people running through the intersection without stopping.

However, he said he would present his residents' wants and concerns to the county.

“The right decision is what the residents want,” he said.



Ian Swaby

Ian Swaby is the Sarasota neighbors writer for the Observer. Ian is a Florida State University graduate of Editing, Writing, and Media and previously worked in the publishing industry in the Cayman Islands.

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