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Longboat Key Letters – Week ending September 21, 2018

Longboat Key News encourages Letters to the Editor on timely issues. Please email to: letters@lbknews.com 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.

U.S. 41 Roundabout

To: Editor

I hesitate to question an Emeritus Professor of Urban Planning, but in his letter of 14th September, Professor Barry addresses everything except traffic density. That roundabouts work well for low and moderate traffic densities is not contested.  However, when one traffic stream, for example southbound on U.S. 41 is virtually continuous, access from a side road such as Ringling Boulevard will become almost impossible.

I suggest decision makers should visit Douglas in the Isle of Man – hardly a traffic density to strike fear into most commuters – and observe the Governor’s roundabout at rush hour. Both morning and evening flows give precedence to one stream and side streams back up endlessly. There are many other similar examples in the U.K. Beware.

Philip Alsop

Longboat Key

 

SBA Disaster Assistance for those affected by toxic algae or red tide

To: Town Commission

The U.S. Small Business Administration has made available the above fact sheets regarding available loans for businesses and non-profit organizations affected by either the toxic algae or the red tide. Loans for those affected by toxic algae are available to those in Lee, Charlotte, and Collier counties after June 1, 2018. Loans for those affected by red tide are available to those in Lee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto and Hardee counties after Nov. 1, 2017. The application deadline for the low-interest loans is June 4, 2019. Please feel free to share this information with those you believe might benefit.

Elizabeth “Lizz” King

Office of U.S. Senator Bill Nelson

Fort Myers

 

ACE Project Site- Draft Outdoor Venue

To: Town Commission

FYI- attached is a draft concept plan that has been developed for the proposed outdoor venue site of the former Amore Restaurant. When Ringling College presents their update at the Commission Workshop on Monday afternoon, the staff will also be presenting this concept to the Commission. You will also receive a copy of this in the agenda packet when it is published tomorrow.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Good Live Traffic Information Website

To: Town Commission

FYI- new public access to the traffic camera system operating by the Sarasota-Manatee Regional Traffic Center.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

  

Good Live Traffic Info Website

To: Town Commission

FYI- Sharing a link to a new helpful, live traffic reporting website:  https://smarttrafficinfo.org/

The website, operated by the Sarasota-Manatee Regional Traffic Management Center (RTMC), has live-linked info that color codes the traffic congestion on the main thoroughfares in the two county area and includes access to numerous live-camera feeds that show what’s happening at various intersections.

Allen Parsons, AICP

Director Planning, Zoning & Building Department

Longboat Key

 

Fiber Optic Installation By Microtrenching

http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/install/Microtrenching/index.html

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

Tom, if existing Frontier fiber and/or fiber conduit can be utilized by the town for its municipal communications needs, then micro-trenching might be utilized to extend fiber to any areas on the island not presently served by Frontier fiber. If the town is not planning additional fiber utilization beyond utilities and public safety, perhaps micro-trenching might offer a cost effective alternative to expensive fiber conduit, that may of may not be shared by private content providers.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Who Will Control 5G Wireless? FCC? States? Cities?

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

Tom, I am wondering if the town commission fully understands the end result of spending millions of taxpayer dollars to create an underground optical fiber network throughout our community.

My question is exactly what is it that the commission hopes to accomplish that will be beneficial to the property owners and justify increasing everyone’s taxes for the next twenty years.

Reading about recent and pending FCC decisions, along with Florida’s cable friendly legislature, I have questions concerning the utility of paying to have miles and miles of fiber conduit buried along every street on the island. Will the cable providers pay the town an annual fee to access the town’s piping system, or will they opt to build out their own infrastructure, that might include hundreds of their own utility poles?

I can see little incentive for Frontier, our current fiber provider, to participate in our system since they already have underground fiber throughout the island. Is there sufficient capacity in Frontier’s existing fiber network to accommodate the town’s communications needs, if the town rents some of their fiber? This might be far less expensive than an entire new fiber network with little or no benefit for property owners.

To spend millions of dollars to simply provide faster communications for the town’s utility services, and perhaps for emergency services, seems to me imprudent before thoroughly exploring a possible partnership with Frontier, to piggyback our fiber needs onto their existing fiber network. I believe that they have ample capacity since subscriber ship on the island is far from one hundred percent.

If the town is not intending to provide any economic return on taxpayer’s investment, then one needs to question the efficacy of a large twenty year property assessment for nothing in return.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Nelson urges GOP leaders to take up Senate water bill

To: Town Commission

Friends, Senator Nelson spoke on the floor this morning to urge his colleagues to take up the Water Resources Development Act, which authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to begin work on the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir. The text of his remarks, and a link to a video, is below.

Elizabeth “Lizz” King

Office of U.S. Senator Bill Nelson

Fort Myers

 

FYI – U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) took to the Senate floor today to urge Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to immediately schedule a vote on the Water Resources Development Act. The legislation includes a provision that would authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to begin work on the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

Once complete, the massive reservoir project, which was included in this year’s water bill at the urging of Nelson and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), will help prevent future algae blooms in South Florida’s waterways by allowing the Corps to store more water south of the lake, instead of sending it east and west in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers.

“We should take it up and pass this bill immediately so that it can go to the White House for signature into law and so we can get to work on the reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee,” Nelson said. “The reservoir is particularly important and it’s timely right now because of this algae crisis in Florida, but it’s also a critical piece of a broader Everglades restoration effort. We need additional storage so that we can move water gradually from Lake Okeechobee, clean it up, and send it south to the areas of the Everglades that are starved for freshwater.”

Following is a transcript of his remarks:

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson

Remarks on the Senate Floor

September 18, 2018

Sen. Nelson: Madam President, over the past few weeks, I have been meeting with residents and business owners in South Florida who are continuing to experience the health impacts and the financial troubles as a result of the persistent algae blooms, and that’s on the east coast of Florida. Then on the west coast, those algae blooms going down the Caloosahatchee River are supercharging the red tide bacteria in the Gulf. It’s having a profound ecological effect with the dead sea life literally, literally littering the beaches. The smell is pungent. It’s irritating.

And I’m here to urge our colleagues to support the Water Resources Development Act, what we refer to as the WRDA bill, because it contains authorization for an important reservoir project that could help alleviate some of the discharges.

When discharges come out of the big lake, Lake Okeechobee, already combined with local runoff and discharges of nutrient-laden water into the waters and Lakes of Florida, but particularly the Caloosahatchee on the west coast and St. Lucie on the east coast, then all of that nutrient-laden water is like throwing fertilizer into water, and since algae is already in the water and you throw fertilizer to it, the algae is going to grow. The algae grows. It turns into this green gunk. It absorbs all of the oxygen in the water. It becomes a dead waterway. The fish can’t live because the oxygen is not there.

Well, there are important things in this Water Resources Development Act, particularly a reservoir that is going to be authorized south of Lake Okeechobee, which would allow instead of all those discharges, some of them could go into this in excess of 10,000-acre reservoir.

Last week, the House and the Senate committees of jurisdiction resolved their differences, and in conference negotiated, reached an agreement and got that agreement passed in the house by a voice vote. So we’re going to have the water bill come up here in the Senate.

We should take it up and pass this bill immediately so that it can go to the White House for signature into law and so we can get to work on the reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. The reservoir is particularly important and it’s timely right now because of this algae crisis in Florida, but it’s also a critical piece of a broader Everglades restoration effort. We need additional storage so that we can move water gradually from Lake Okeechobee, clean it up, and send it south to the areas of the Everglades that are starved for freshwater.

And I urge the Majority Leader to call up the bill immediately so we can get on with this new reservoir project and the many other projects that are in the water bill.

Madam President, I yield the floor.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson

Remarks on the Senate Floor

 

Roundabout study

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

Tom, a decade ago, when I was on the commission, the town paid a Miami engineering company fifteen thousand to analyze the same traffic roundabout as is being more or less proposed again by the city of Sarasota. I was then the only commissioner who had done any inquiry into the efficacy of roundabouts compared to intersections – fatal accidents, collisions, time to transit, fuel economy, traffic volume, etc. The 2008 engineer was only able to conclude that the then planned round-about study might have erred on the transit time by two seconds for one of several volume loading scenarios. The engineering practice of designing traffic roundabouts has not likely changed greatly over the past decade. There is already a wealth of studies of traffic roundabouts. I suspect little can be learned by yet another twenty thousand dollar study, where the engineer knows fully well what the commission wants him to say. The last engineer was apologetic about taking the fifteen thousand for nothing.

The Seattle area, where I now spend summers, always appears on the short list of traffic-grid cities in America. I can attest that the appellation is well deserved. There are lots of traffic circles of all sizes in the Seattle metropolitan area. One common congestion problem I have observed is that heavily loaded traffic circles, where rush hour traffic comes predominantly from one direction, tend to be hogged by the dominant traffic stream, and other cars cannot break into the steady traffic stream flowing through the roundabout. Given the older demographic of the Sarasota community, I wonder if this hogging phenomenon might not pose a problem under heavy traffic loading. At the north end of LBK, the proposed single lane roundabout can successfully use a metering signal to prevent GMD traffic from dominating and shutting out access from the village. I do not believe this is possible on a multi-lane roundabout. Hogging might actually slow down traffic trying to leave the island during peak traffic loading. I suspect that traffic roundabouts function efficiently under light to moderate loading. After witnessing the great traffic circle snarls in Paris and Rome, I am not sure how well the proposed traffic roundabout, full of old people, will function in Sarasota.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Working Together Against Red Tide

To: David Wilt

Town Manager Tom Harmer, Public Works Director Isaac Brownman, Neil Fleet, Bob Simmons and Murray Bluegrass (another Bay Isles Director) are scheduled to meet again today or tomorrow on clean-up planning.  There was an update by Isaac at yesterday’s commission meeting on the town’s red tide clean up effort during August.  I reiterated on the record, and it was generally agreed, that we need to have clear responsibilities understood going forward for clean-ups island-wide.

Ken Shneier

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Turtle season update- code enforcement

To: Town Commission

FYI- see below an update on Turtle Season code enforcement activity:

As of September 12, 2018, for the 2018 sea turtle nesting season, Code Enforcement has opened 56 cases for noncompliance with lighting restrictions, 24 cases for obstructions on the beach, and 12 cases for persons on the public beach between the hours of 11 p.m. – 5 a.m.

In addition, Code Enforcement has issued 4 civil citations for noncompliance with lighting restrictions during the 2018 nesting season. The Town has also partnered with the Sea to Shore Alliance as part of their Nests Program in order to assist properties in achieving compliance.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

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