Longboat Key Letters – Week ending March 31, 2017
Longboat Key News encourages Letters to the Editor on timely issues. Please email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to PO Box 8001, Longboat Key, FL 34228. We also print letters sent to Town Hall that address Longboat Key issues. We reserve the right to edit.
President Trump should not delegate responsibility
One of the many good things that I learned at Navy Officer Candidate School in 1964 is that a leader can delegate authority but not responsibility. For this reason, President Trump’s attempt to blame a Fox News lawyer for claiming that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower was downright puerile. It’s a shame that our Commander-in-Chief does not understand the most basic management principles taught to 22-year-old military officer candidates.
Fruitville & Gulfstream Gridlock Traffic
To: Mr. Lou
Thanks for your continued interest and input. We take it seriously and appreciate it.
First, we continue to try and fine tune the timings. We made some changes that I believe significantly improved operations, however as the peak season continues to develop it becomes more challenging in the peak of the peak. I believe you wrote us earlier to say that things were improving, and our staff appreciated the positive feedback. I don’t believe that we ever promised what the results would be, I believe we promised to do our best to improve things, which we have done and will continue to do.
Second, we are not favoring US 41 over Gulfstream. We have taken time away from US 41 and perhaps there is an opportunity to take some more, we will continue working on it.
I am asking Renjan Joseph and Keith Slater to reach out and schedule an on site meeting with you. I thought this had already occurred but if not then it can be handled very soon. They are very busy during the peak season trying to make adjustments to all of the signals around the District.
David Gwynn, P.E.
Florida Department of Transportation
Fruitville & Gulfstream Gridlock Traffic
To: FDOT David Gwynn
The original plan was to meet with Mr. Lou once all the proposed physical changes at Fruitville Rd and subsequent system timing fine-tuning are completed. These were expected to be completed in a short period of time. However, since the intersections in question were part of a construction project, all the physical modifications has to be done through the project contractor, which I came to know recently will take some time. Also additional timing changes will have to be coordinated through the contractor.
Since the original plan is changed, I will schedule to meet with Mr. Lou this week.
Renjan Joseph, P.E.
Arterial Management System Engineer
Florida Department Of Transportation
Brenner resigns from Charter Review To: Mayor Terry Gans
I regret to tell you that I will not be able to serve because of health issues. My reluctance to serve is because of my uncertainty to be able to perform. I feel badly about my conclusion, but I’d rather you have a vacancy on the committee than a non-performer.
Please accept my resignation.
To: David Brenner
Thank you for your e-mail. We are of course saddened that your insights and wisdom will not be a part of the Review process, but fully support the need to put taking care of you first and foremost.
Please continue to supply your valued guidance to me and the Commission as you feel fit.
And, be well.
To: Mayor Terry Gans
Terry…Thanks for your kind words and your wishes for my health.
Steube: Please adjust legislation for Longboat’s specific concerns
To: Senator Greg Steube
There is a bill currently before you – Senate Bill 596 – that while we on Longboat Key support its objective in its intent to enable advancement in technology will have unintended consequences for our Town and other communities through the State. The law, as currently drafted, does not take into account a community’s desires through their existing planning, efforts to maintain and enhance the visual environment within their jurisdiction. We, on Longboat Key, believe there are adjustments which can be made to address the specific concerns of towns such as ours.
As you know, Longboat Key voters approved two referendums to impose tax assessments of nearly $50 million to place all currently overhead utilities underground. Also approved by the voters was a Town-wide fiber system that would be open to the telecoms. Part of the planning is to install “smart poles” for our streetlights that will accommodate wireless antenna from service providers. The Town is well along in the initial phase of implementation of this voter approved plan.
Therefore, we request that future considerations of this legislation contain provisions requiring the telecom companies to work with local municipalities who already have, or are in the process of undergrounding their overhead utilities. Our Town officials are confident that the requirements of advanced technology and the goals of our Town and others who have chosen to underground utilities can be accomplished. Our Town officials are prepared to assist in drafting language that could be included in the legislation to address these issues.
The unintended consequences of the legislation can be resolved and we need your help to provide the protection our community needs. Our Town staff is prepared to provide you any additional information you may need. Dave Bullock’s (Town Manager) phone number is 941-316-1999. In advance, thank you for your assistance on this matter.
Chair, Planning & Zoning Board
North Shore Road and North Longboat Cove
To: Town Commission
In discussions with more than six neighbors, I write to express our endorsement of Richard Abuza’s written submission and oral comments at the March 22 “workshop.” In addition we want it to be clearly understood that we also support efforts to protect the properties at 360 North and Longbeach Condo (Coquina Building).
Many/most North Shore Road property owners (and other adjacent neighbors) have concerns about the eastward extension of Beer Can/Greer Island beaches and the resultant threat to Canal 1A- a red zone scheduled for dredging. The accelerated pace of closing of the access to the North Longboat Cove and general Cove “shallowing” would have very negative consequences for the recreational use, wildlife retention, water salinity and health of our neighborhood.
We appreciate the time and access you have already granted us, the group and private meetings you (and others have attended, and your expressed understanding of our concerns. We have some understanding of the “permitting” involved and delays associated. Despite this partial understanding, I express for myself and my allied neighbors our ever increasing concern with the condition of Canal 1A, general Cove-wide silting-in, the less sea water “flow-through” and the decline of the former environmental system that is the North Longboat Cove – a special environment and the “gateway” (and visual-first-impression) for those entering Longboat Key from the North. Its immediacy and importance is the reason we continually raise this subject. A group of us will attend the April meeting and plan to address these concerns in oral and/or written form. Thank you for patiently hearing our repeated concerns. We invite any involved Town representative to our homes and neighborhood to see the situation and discuss these ideas.
Sarasota traffic memorandum
To: Bradenton Beach Mayor Shaw, Vice-Mayor Freeland-Eddie and Sarasota City Commissioners Alpert, Atwell, and Chapman
This email covers the severe underestimation of future traffic in the Fruitville Road plans currently being considered by the City.
Here are five ways the planners underestimated future traffic, in a January 6, 2017 Traffic Memorandum by Sam Schwarz.
1) The planners assumed no increase in Fruitville Road traffic from general population growth, 0% growth, for all 20 years from 2018 to 2038.
2) The planners did decide to project traffic growth from some specific developments planned or in construction now. But, of 16 projects north of the Fruitville Road project, and within 5 blocks, the planners only counted traffic from 3 of 16 projects. South of the project length, within the 5 blocks from Fruitville Road to Ringling Boulevard, and including the Vue and Quay/Bayside, the planners only counted traffic from 4 of 13 projects. Thus, they only counted traffic from 7 of 29 nearby projects.
3) The planners ignored all traffic from all currently unannounced developments, for the next 20 years. There was no attempt to generally estimate future development, estimate the population growth and traffic from that, and account for that traffic in Fruitville Road plans from 2018 to 2038.
4) The planners assumed that there would be no increase of traffic on Fruitville Road after the year 2028, for any reason, be it a specific development or general population increase.
5) The planners did not account for the growth of traffic that may come from the 4 roundabouts planned for US 41, at Gulfstream Avenue, Fruitville Road, 10th and 14th Streets. The major purpose of these roundabouts is to move more traffic.
Aside from the January 6 memo, there were two other big data gaps which may also lead to traffic underestimation.
1) At a November 12, 2015 public meeting, the planners said they believed average daily traffic to be around 15,000 cars per day. But, as we all know, when traffic plans are made, greater importance is often placed on peak measurements over average measurements. Peak flows are the times when a corridor’s performance is really tested. But, when audience members asked what the peak daily traffic was, the planners said that they did not know. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune has estimated that peak daily traffic may be as high as 28,000 cars/day. (Editorial, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, March 3, 2016)
2) At the same November 12, 2015 meeting, audience members asked what percentages of Fruitville Road traffic were headed to the barrier islands, to downtown, or elsewhere. The planners said that they did not know.
Census figures show that Sarasota County population grew by 33.33% from 1995 to 2015. This translates into an annual compound growth rate of 1.45% over 20 years, a well-established trend.
But, according to the Fruitville Road planners, this is irrelevant. The planners used a study from north and west of Gulfstream/US 41 that shows steady levels of traffic from 2000 to 2015. It is not mentioned that those years included a major recession. The planners also assumed that the intersections of 41/Fruitville and 301/Fruitville are so bad, and will remain so bad for 20 years under their plan, that they won’t allow any more traffic growth on Fruitville Road during peak hours for the next 20 years. The planners wrote, “Therefore, based on the historically level growth and the inability for the corridor to accommodate additional traffic at either end, background growth was not applied to the corridor when projecting future volumes.”
Thus, the planners assumed no general growth in Fruitville Road traffic from the east or west, a highly arguable proposition. And, they didn’t even mention general traffic growth from north or south.
According to the Sarasota Observer of February 23, 2017, there are 16 projects, planned or under construction, north of Fruitville Road, south of 8th Street, east of US 41 and west of Orange Avenue. The article also shows 11 projects south of Fruitville Road, from US 41 to US 301, from Ringling Blvd north to Fruitville. And the article also shows the Vue and Quay/Bayside which are very close to the western end of the Fruitville Road project. Overall, this is 29 projects within 5 blocks of Fruitville Road. But, the Fruitville Road planners only counted traffic from 7 of these projects. The 7 are listed below in a section from the January 6 memo.
To sum, we believe that the underestimation of traffic undermines the credibility of the Fruitville Road plans. We think it is dreaming to assume that there will be no background increase in traffic from our area’s strong population growth. It is obviously untrue that the only traffic growth, during peak hours or any other time, will come from just 7 of the current 29 projects within 5 blocks of the project. It is the opposite of good planning to simply ignore the future traffic from the next 20 years of unannounced developments. To plan this corridor without knowing peak daily flows, and to ignore the impact of four US 41 roundabouts, including one at Fruitville/41, avoids necessary facts. And, the conclusion that Fruitville Road traffic won’t increase for any reason, after 2028, defies reason, history, and common sense.
The Fruitville Road plans are based on data and assumptions which severely underestimate future traffic. Thus, the plan’s conclusions, that its alternatives can handle future traffic, are doubtful. This is particularly true when one realizes that Fruitville Road struggles to handle existing traffic and the new plans call for restricting its capacity by reducing road width, eliminating bike lanes (which increase motorist flow and ease turning movements), reducing center lane width, converting four lanes to two lanes, and replacing four lane intersections with one lane roundabouts. Approval of these plans would lead to even worse traffic congestion that Sarasota would have to live with for decades. We urge you to reject the Fruitville Road plans.
Enter your email below to receive occasional Longboat Key breaking news eblasts and updates.