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The Villages
Monday, June 14, 2021

Apartment complex will worsen traffic

To the Editor:

I agree with Commissioner Ruth Kussard that traffic, speeding and reckless driving on Chula Vista Avenue and Rio Grande Avenue are out of control.
My home backs up to Rio Grande Avenue, so we see it all.
This will only get worse with the two apartment complexes planned for County Road 466.  I have met with the town manager and Police Chief Chief McKinstry years ago and have asked for help several times to no avail. Town officials are always attentive but then nothing happens.
The traffic engineer says it could make things worse to add stop signs!  Really? Have you tried to turn left off Rio Grande exiting onto Avenida Central? Or turn left into the El Cortez gate and cross two lanes of speeding traffic?
I met with Rep. Hage and Sen. Baxley last year to discuss legislation to relax certain state regulations that hinder local officials in over 55 approved communities to make it easier to install traffic control devices. Never heard back from either one!  I have had other discussions and meetings including the Lake County Sheriff’s Office who sent in some motorcycle officers for a few days.
The problem is we need to make it inconvenient, for the local non-Villagers’ flow through traffic, by putting in multiple stop signs at the mail center on Chula Vista, at Ventura on Chula Vista, at Chula Vista and Rio Grande on Rio Grande and on Avenida Central and Rio Grande at the El Cortez gate. It wouldn’t hurt to put stop signs at the three way intersections as well.
These are not highways. They do not justify 40 to 50 mph speeds, yet that is normal. When drivers adhere to local limits, there is no problem. A flashing speed signal needs to be installed on Rio Grande as well as Chula Vista.
And, oh yes, the best solution is to enforce the traffic laws by giving tickets to violators who speed, drive recklessly and do not stop. I do not think it is asking too much to request signs (not stop lights) in our over 55 community for safety to drivers, pedestrians, motorized chairs, golf carts and anyone else in the community.  I made this argument so many times now and nothing happens.  I ask a simple question – why can’t a week of enforcement be used to make a statement and then add signs and warnings and if necessary another period of strict enforcement.
I can start making videos and deliver them to the commission, but honestly this is so blatantly simple that should not be necessary.  Police only have to sit at Chula Vista Recreation Center at 6:30 a.m. till 8 a.m. or 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and they could fund the police force with the number of speeders on Rio Grande alone. There was enforcement when Chief McKinstry was still in office. If every resident of The Villages that resides in Lady Lake speaks out – I think we could get some action. Please express your support for Commissioner Kussard’s concerns by attending a meeting, writing an email or a letter to the editor. I will continue my efforts till we get some action.

Robert Nyce
Village of El Cortez

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