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Town fights sign pollution

‘I think the bikers need to be educated. There are two types of bikers, those who live here and then there are a group of young guys who park here and use it like a racetrack.’

2010 Longboat Key Town Commission

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

Sign pollution and overzealous bicyclists were two hot topics at Thursday’s Town Commission Workshop.

Commissioners want a full report naming any sign that is not mandated by FDOT on Gulf of Mexico Drive. The effort is a move by several commissioners to reduce what they say is visual pollution emanating from the more than 400 signs located along the island’s main thoroughfare.

FDOT representative Keith Slater told commissioners that the majority of the signs along GMD were either placed by FDOT or mandated by the agency. Slater did say the town could get rid of the “No Parking on State Right of Way” signs as well as all signage referring to the bike lane and warning drivers to watch for turning cyclists.

For Vice Major Jim Brown, the bicyclists need to start following the rules of the road.

“I think the bikers need to be educated. There are two types of bikers, those who live here and then there are a group of young guys who park here and use it like a racetrack. They ride four abreast and don’t give the right-of-way or yield. The commission should look into this and discuss it,” said Brown.

Planning and Zoning Board member Walter Hackett submitted a report that found a total of 405 signs in the 9.7 miles of Gulf of Mexico Drive right-of-way. Of the 405, Hackett recorded 122 signs that reference bikes and 82 signs that reference the SCAT bus system.

FDOT Engineer L.K. Nandan told the commission that an earlier commission requested the bike lane signs to tell drivers to yield, and the feedback from the bike community is that the signs really work.

“There are so many bike signs because there are a lot of driveways, a lot of potential conflicts,” said Nandan.

Mayor George Spoll said, “Signs won’t help the issue of drivers not yielding.”

Commissioners made some attempts at innovation to reduce the number of signs by asking if mandated signs could share signposts or if one sign could be placed at each end of the island that say “No Parking in State Right-of-Way.”

Slater said that is not legal, and Nandan pointed out that every mandated sign references a statute and must be displayed uniformly and meeting specific criteria to make it enforceable.

“There may be issues with enforceability if you go that route,” said Nandan.

Ultimately, Planning and Zoning Board Chairwoman B.J. Webb summed up her take on the issue.

“The more signs, the less people pay attention to them. It’s just a form of visual blight,” said Webb.

The issue will be addressed by a Planning and Zoning Board committee, which will assess what signs may be removable per the FDOT and will make a recommendation to the commission at a future date.

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Longboat Key News

1 Response for “Town fights sign pollution”

  1. William Kary says:

    Here’s a link the Town Commission might care to review http://www.floridabicycle.org/rules/bikelaw.html
    as well as Section 316.2065 F.S.

    What’s next? The Town attempting to ban scooters on GMD? The are forced to stay on the roadway and are not technically not allowed to use the bike lane to allow traffice to pass (although most do anyway). The Commission needs to take a day and observe Anna Maria Island where for some reason bikes, scooters, segways, electric and gas powered skateboards, golf carts, mototcycles, trucks, and even automobiles seem to coexist.

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