Saturday, September 03, 2011

Special Meeting Day After Labor Day

The quarterly Lake Sarasota Community Group meeting, normally held on the 2nd Thursday of the month, will occur on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011 -- same time, 7 p.m., same place, Sarasota Alliance Church, 7221 Bee Ridge Rd.

The change enables us to have a special speaker - Joe O'Hara. Joe has worked tirelessly on the community needs and wishes and concerns about the coming widening of Bee Ridge from Mauna Loa eastward for most of the past decade. No one knows more about every detail of the conceptual plan; no one has followed the county's own planners and its hired experts more closely.

And no one has offered more effective citizen involvement to urge the county to opt for a "Low Impact Plan" that would create an environmentally sound design. The benefits of the design are significant. It
  • provides safety for pedestrians and cyclists
  • preserve important trees
  • creates park-like borders and noise-reducing buffers between the road and communities along Bee Ridge.
However, thanks to the faltering economy, some would like to see the vision for Bee Ridge pared back -- this could cause the death of many grand trees and, and result in a string of long thin borders (i.e., not "park-like," potentially less safe and far less attractive). There would be much less of a buffer between road and homes, and other less desirable qualities.

In brief, we'd still be located along a larger, busier corridor, but one that labels our area "place to drive through" as opposed to "nice place to visit or live."

The county recently hired an agency to come up with the detailed construction plan. As this plan is formulated, Bee Ridge communities will be invited to see it, hear about it, and comment on it. But those meetings are some months away at best, and this Sept. 6 preview will be invaluable to those who attend.

This is the time to get up to speed on what is happening and to offer your input on specifics of the design, including traffic signals, bike lanes, roundabouts, etc. The more the community actively asserts its voice, the better the chances of getting the best Bee Ridge Road possible.

Come out on Sept. 6, then continue to track developments on this blog and on Facebook.


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