Residents speak out on safety during pivotal discussion of Del Mar Gate

Residents spoke out on safety concerns at the Del Mar Gate during a budget workshop Wednesday afternoon of the Amenity Authority Committee.

AAC members discussed the recommended $71,920 installation of an additional lane at the problematic gate near Spanish Springs.

Villager Marsha Bukala, who relies on a guide dog, warned of the dangers in the area for walkers.

She counts on the gate attendant to help her cross at Del Mar Drive.

“I call out to him for help,” she said.

She invited AAC members to take a walk with her in the vicinity of the Del Mar Gate.

Another visually challenged Villager who lives in the area offered a prediction.

“Add another lane to the Del Mar Gate and you will seen an uptick in accidents and pedestrian injuries,” said Pat Mason.

The Del Mar Gate has been problematic for several years. It is located at a four-way stop in the Town of Lady Lake and frequently sees huge volumes of traffic when a special event takes place at Spanish Springs Town Square. The unique construction of the gate has the attendant at a greater distance from those passing through the gate. The Del Mar Gate suffers from an inordinate amount of gate strikes and generates numerous complaints.

AAC Chair Ann Forrester said she had talked to residents who live near the Del Mar Gate. She said those residents did not think the extra lane was the solution.

ACC member John Wilcox, a longtime critic of the gates in The Villages, also indicated he was not in favor of the upgrade.

However, three other members of the AAC indicated they were ready to move forward with the project.

“Who are we to go against what the experts are telling us?” asked AAC member Carl Bell.