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Date of Issue: April 28, 2005

Traffic calming proposals not so calm

Manatee County transportation officials recently completed their study of possible traffic-calming measures along Marina Drive in Holmes Beach from Gulf Drive North to 56th Street, but a few of the proposals were rejected outright by city officials.

One county proposal rejected by Police Chief Jay Romine and Mayor Carol Whitmore was to install six parallel parking spaces along the east side of Marina Drive by the boat basin.

"That’s not going to happen," said Whitmore, and Romine agreed.

"People would just block traffic as they tried to back up into a space," the mayor said. "Then, they’d tie up that parking space all day. We’re looking to calm traffic, not jeopardize it."

Another suggestion is to narrow the northbound lane of Marina Drive to one lane and install landscaping in several locations along the east side.

"Landscaped islands with curbing" are effective means to calm traffic, said Manatee County Traffic Division Manager Red Childs.

He also proposed raised crosswalks be installed at the current crosswalk by the Island Shopping Center and at the Marina Drive-56th Street intersection.

Childs emphasized the study was only "cursory" and "these are suggestions only." Any implementation of any traffic-calming measures would require the services of a consultant/contractor to provide a scope of work and cost estimate.

Romine said the county study was done at the city’s request after he had received a number of complaints about the visibility of pedestrians in the area.

"We began to look at ways to make (the area) safer and more visually appealing at the same time," he said.

Following presentation of the traffic-calming study to the city commission April 12, representatives of the planned Tidemark hotel/condominium/marina indicated they would like to be involved in the project and provide some funding.

Whitmore said Tidemark would like to make a presentation to the commission at its May 20 meeting on what the company likes and dislikes about the traffic-calming study and present proposals of its own.