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Date of Issue: February 25, 2009

Palma Sola highway extension supported

An advisory board mapping the future of the Palma Sola Scenic Highway is interested in seeing the roadway designation extended on Manatee Avenue to Manatee Public Beach.

The Holmes Beach City Commission also is interested in extending the scenic highway designation, which can bring grant money for enhancements in the corridor.

The scenic corridor currently begins at 75th Street West in Bradenton and runs along Manatee Avenue/State Road 64 to East Bay Drive in Holmes Beach.

In late January, Holmes Beach public works superintendent Joe Duennes asked the mayor and city commission to recommend extending the corridor to the beach.

The commission, with no debate, approved the request.

Next month, the Palma Sola Scenic Highway Corridor Management Entity committee will consider a resolution requesting the designation, said committee chair Seth Kohn.

The committee briefly discussed the idea of extending the scenic highway during a meeting Jan. 14 and indicated its support.

At its next meeting, the Palma Sola group also is expected to discuss traffic concerns at the intersection of East Bay Drive and Manatee Avenue.

Committee vice chair Molly McCartney, who lives near the intersection at Westbay Cove North, raised the issue.

“The problem is the existing traffic light system, which is confusing and which many drivers routinely violate, resulting in a game of chicken for southbound and northbound cars,” McCartney said.

She said the Florida Department of Transportation provided a fix with new but temporary traffic lights used during the closure of the Anna Maria Island Bridge.

“As soon as the bridge reopened, the state came and removed the new lights and we were back with the same old system of chicken,” she said.

McCartney offered a solution, “Northbound traffic on East Bay Drive making a left-hand turn onto Manatee Avenue should be held back at least 15 or more seconds to permit traffic exiting Westbay Cove to proceed safely going south on East Bay Drive.”

Kohn suggested the committee discuss a possible resolution at its meeting scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, at the county administration building in Bradenton.