The Big Story –  Road Rage, the Sequel

By Rick Boettger

Eventually, we are going to switch the traffic on North Roosevelt over to the seawall side from the triangle to the storage business next to GFS.  This was supposed to happen mid-December but has been put off longer and longer.  No one was working at the HQ on Boog Powell Court as of Jan. 2.  It seems they took a month off for the holidays.


Last time I wrote, I was as nice as I could be out of gratitude for the Secretary of Transportation’s decision to follow the will of the suffering N. Roosevelt business owners and make two way traffic, in accordance with FDOT’s general principles.  At that time, I bit my tongue about the obvious bottleneck they built in, unnecessarily, from Kennedy to the storage business.


As all who drive the Boulevard know, the only problem is the lanes and lights at Kennedy and the Overseas Market.  There would have been no problem at all if they had simply added a single lane going south on this stretch.  I have watched closely; not a lick of work has been done on this unused lane. All the traffic backed up to Sears incoming would not have happened if FDOT had simply used the lane space available to them.


More foolishly, and dangerously so, was the appallingly bad idea to make bicyclists cross the Boulevard twice, at the Overseas Market light and at a surprising new crosswalk at the storage business.  They closed off half of the bridge over the salt slough, apparently just so they could store pipes and machinery there.  Even with the pipes and machines, there has been plenty of room for bikes to drive safely and easily over the bridge without dangerously crossing the Boulevard, further slowing traffic, by the way.


Most absurdly, when people use their common sense to use the safe and direct path, FDOT has wasted their time and money trying to stop us. When putting up the yellow tape and hollow drums didn’t work, they used their heavy machinery to dump a bunch of dirt in the way (which we laboriously haul our bikes over).  Their actions have made no sense, and when I directly questioned them, they had no sensible answer — they said work was imminent on the bridge, which has proven to be simply untrue.


Looking at the new striping, it looks as though they are going to repeat this mistake between Kennedy and the Overseas Market light and we are in for another six months of unnecessary delays. I have no idea why they make these unnecessary mistakes.  The original one-way decision flew in the face of their standard operating procedures, which explicitly recognize the harm done to local businesses by one-way streets. All of the predictions of traffic disasters from the two-way were proven simply to be wrong.


Now, the unnecessary lane limitations are similarly just plain wrong. After the wonderfully active road construction we saw in the months after the Coalition of North Roosevelt Businesses activated local opposition to the one-way and convinced FDOT to do the right thing, it seems their attention has flagged. Do we need to mobilize again?

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