62.3 F
The Villages
Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Enhancing visibility can save lives

Victor Ray
Victor Ray

Golf cart discussions have consumed The Villages with many conflicting stories on costs, engineering reports, CDDs going rogue, petitions, coercion at the District Manager’s level and simply a lot of pandering to issues that in my opinion leaves out the most important issue, enhancing the visibility of our aging community here in The Villages.

Most of us are grateful for what the Morse/Schwartz family have created for us and future generations to come here in The Villages. “Gary Morse looked at the pastures and prairies of Florida’s interior and saw the American Dream,” U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said in a statement. “Not just for him, but for the tens of thousands of seniors who have been able to enjoy their golden years and continue to live them to their fullest. His vision created a retirement community unlike any other, and Florida is richer for his entrepreneurial spirit.”

Coming to The Villages two and half years ago, I began to live this dream. Getting involved in many activities and organizations, I came to realize I wanted take a greater role. I ran for a seat on the P.O.A., the Property Owners Association and was elected director. A year later, I ran for supervisor of CDD 8 and was elected. I carried with me one of the objectives I came to live and that is to make The Villages an even better place to live and where the residents’ rights are respected and local government is responsive to the needs of all residents.

My decision to take this district “Rogue” as District Management likes to call it was not done out of any loyalties to any organizations, it was done for one reason, to promote greater safety through enhanced visibility on our multi-modal paths.  When these discussions begun over 10 months ago, the polls we had available, Village-News.com and the POA poll showed that over 80 percent of the people wanted some kind of markings on our multi-modal paths. On Feb. 2, the Village-News.com conducted another poll which showed that 64 percent of the people responding wanted some kind of stripe. Those poll numbers did not change until District Management came out with some staggering numbers of $300,000 and up to stripe. On July 6, 2015, at the Multi-Modal Path Discussion Group (MMPDG) meeting staff was instructed to take the necessary steps to issue a bid or request for proposal (RFP) for costs, which would show the true annual cost of paint or thermoplastics based on longevity of material. Staff never did supply MMPDG with a breakdown of costs.  Where did that $300,000 come from?  All of sudden we heard that if we striped there would be liability to the district … what liability? We have been told there are no regulation for Multi-Modal paths yet now we are referring to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The manual says that edge line striping can assist with night time golf cart operation and will not make the paths less safe, then his other breath gives a strong recommendation against? Where did that breath come from? I think we know. Our engineer has the facts from residents who say they cannot see and want enhanced visibility on the paths at night in inclement weather why has he not acted on this? The liability now lies with the engineer and District Management but instead is touted to residents that if we go forward we are all liable.

There are about 50,000 privately owned golf carts in the Villages. That may not seem like a lot to many but compare that all the buses, taxis and subways to Manhattan and The Villages wins.

Many of us came here to live in our slice of adult paradise, but as we are living we are aging. When we crash we get hurt and we are more susceptible to more injuries. Our physical bodies are starting to slow down and for many vision is one of the first to take its toll. It’s been said that changes in vision, flexibility, strength, range of motion and height may impact our comfort. We may need help to improve these functions. When it’s dark and when it rains the golf paths are difficult to maneuver. When a golf cart approaching another with certain lights can blind a person for a brief second causing them to lose their course path. Knowing where you are on a dark path sometimes require you drive in the middle of the path and many times create near misses. Have you ever traveled the bridge to Lake Sumter?

Over the last several weeks, more lines have been painted, more reflective disks have been placed, Kimberly-Horns engineer was paid a lump sum of $5,000 to design and come-up with specification for the planned markings to improve VISIBILITY on the multi-modal paths. Yet we read again that early estimates for the enhanced markings on the multi-modal paths indicate that work could top $25,000. And yet we read from Kimberly-Horn, markings on the side of the paths is not needed, so enhancing visibility to avoid an accident is incidental.

Victor Ray is a supervisor in Community Development District 8.

Fake Christian is about to be revealed in court

A Village of Osceola Hills resident predicts Donald Trump’s fake Christianity will be unveiled in court this week.

Brenda Turner is right about flying of repugnant flags

In a Letter to the Editor, a Village of Palo Alto resident offers praise for a letter from Brenda Turner, who took on the issue of political flags flying in The Villages.

Trump has left a trail of cheating on wives and in business

A Village of Calumet Grove resident says Trump’s documented trail of cheating on wives and in business speaks for itself. Read his Letter to the Editor.

Our cut-through traffic worse than cut-through traffic in Winifred

A Village of Polo Ridge resident responds to a Village of Winifred resident upset about cut-through traffic. Read his Letter to the Editor.

Are golf managers checking the contractors’ work?

A Village of Charlotte resident, in a Letter to the Editor, wonders if the managers of the golf courses are paying any attention to the work being performed by contractors.