74.9 F
The Villages
Wednesday, July 24, 2024

When will elected leaders respond to our concerns about traffic?

Robert Nyce
Robert Nyce

As a follow-up to my recent commentary about traffic control studies and their cost within the Lady Lake portion of The Villages (3 of the 5 wards of Lady Lake are within The Villages) it dawned on me that the issue of cost for traffic studies or any other safety related issues should be of no concern to the residents of Lady Lake.  In fact, a fair question for all of the residents of the Town of Lady Lake and especially the three wards within The Villages should be, “what happened to all of the impact fees collected on the new development” along County Road 466?  We can only hope that the planning department considered the effects of traffic on our restricted, state approved and regulated, 55 and over community.  If they did then there should have been impact fees paid to address these resulting negative impacts on us.

It was the choice of our Lady Lake Commissioners to annex all of the new development along County Road 466 west of County Road 100.  I am sure the Department of Public Works submitted it’s concerns about traffic that will inevitably choose the Chula Vista Avenue gate for access to Spanish Springs and all destinations north.  Because they will not use Rolling Acres Road.  So, pony up and pay for whatever costs are necessary to fund studies for stop signs throughout The Villages communities.  And, please don’t conduct the studies during the off season (summer) months.  That will provide only false information of how bad it really is.  So, why not do the required studies?  It worked at the Del Mar Ave. and Avenida Central intersection. I believe the El Cortez Gate gets a significant amount of more traffic than Del Mar Gate just based on the amount of traffic using Rio Grande Avene to get to Morse Boulevard and County Road 466 via Chula Vista Avenue.  What was the purpose of impact fees if not for anticipated future issues including traffic concerns. What will it take to protect those of us who pay our taxes but get little in return?

We all are appreciative of the flashing speed recording devices and the new signs indicating Speed Limit Strictly Enforced on Rio Grande Avenue.  We would like to know what are the results of those monitors.

Lady Lake does not provide water or sewer service for the three wards located in The Villages.  They don’t provide utility services.  Yes, we have police.  However, when did you last see a report on the number of traffic citations written within the three wards of The Villages?  Can we get that information?  Can we get traffic enforcement reports with statistics.  Sumter County sheriffs are out on Morse Boulevard and Buena Vista Boulevard regularly giving citations.  We occasionally see a Lady Lake car in the Cul de Sac at the end of Chula Vista Avenue. but everyone knows where they post?  Is it helping?

By the way, there are no painted crosswalks at any of our intersections even at the Spanish Springs Town Square.  Why is that.  La Plaza Grande has large painted cross walks for shoppers and many stop signs but here within the three Lady Lake wards – nope, none!  There should be crosswalks at Chula Vista Recreation Center, the intersection of Rio Grande Ave. and Avenida Central at El Cortez gate so that pedestrians can get to La Plaza Grande.  No one knows where to cross.  This is further complicated by the fact that golf car lanes disappear going east on Avenida Centra at the El Cortez gate entrance.  And going west on Avenida Central the golf car lane begins at the traffic light which confuses many golf car drivers.  They think they can turn left in to the El Cortez gate from the golf car lane while crossing four lanes of automobile traffic.  Why is that?  Golf cars must merge into the traffic lanes on Avenida Central at every other intersection but not at El Cortez Gate.  And why are there are no crosswalks for safety?

There is one alternative which is within the control of the Town of Lady Lake – put all the golf cart traffic back into the traffic lanes on Rio Grande Avenue, Chula Vista Ave. and Del Mar Ave. north of Rio Grande Ave.  Right now, these few roads are the exception, in that they allow cars and trucks on the roadway and force golf cars, pedestrians, bikes, and motorized wheel chairs onto shoulders of the road.  Everywhere else, except Avenida Central (a four-lane road) cars and trucks MUST travel in the traffic lanes WITH GOLF CARS in Lady Lake north of CR 466.  Doing this would allow the current golf car lanes to be used by pedestrians and scooters or bikes without fear of being run over.

As previously stated, north of CR 466 we have no sidewalks only painted golf car, pedestrian and bike lanes on our roads.  The roads are much narrower than south of CR466 and so are the golf car lanes.  Cars and trucks share the ALL the roads north of CR 466 EXCEPT a few (Rio Grande Ave., Chula Vista Ave. and Del Mar Ave.).  I am not requesting a change for Avenida Centra as it is a four-lane road which makes it unique same as El Camino Real (which has separate multimodal paths running parallel).  All of the aforementioned roads are the same as all of our other internal roads that we share with all other traffic.  Forcing golf cars, pedestrians, bikes and others, into a narrow, painted area is more risky, not less risky than everyone driving in the same lane of traffic like we do everywhere within The Villages north of CR 466 especially in Lake County and specifically Lady Lake, in my opinion.  One can often observe pedestrians jumping on the grass to avoid golf cars and bikes on a regular basis and that is only the pedestrians that know enough to walk against traffic – many do not.

The real question is, “does anyone care?”

This suggestion does not alleviate the need for stop signs at El Cortez Gate or at Chula Vista Recreation Center on Rio Grande Avenue.  However, it would greatly assist those who walk, bike or use motorized wheel chairs on our roads north of CR 466.  Lady Lake Commissioners, not too long ago, considered allowing golf cars on local roads in the downtown area of Lady Lake but decided not to do it.  In our case, it would bring consistency to all of our roads, thus reducing confusion for drivers unfamiliar with our roads like snowbirds.  I would make more sense than the current exceptions for Del Mar Avenue, Chula Vista Avenue and Rio Grande Avenue.

All residents of Lady Lake residing in The Villages should be taking notice.  These issues are important to all of us for safety and quality of life.  We are living in a state approved, state regulated, 55 and over community.  We don’t live along the turnpike or SR441 or county roads. We live within the boundaries of a state authorized, state approved, 55 and over community. \ We should expect nothing less than some stop signs or other traffic control devices to help keep us safe in return for all the impact fees paid by developers and the taxes that we pay.

If it takes a change in state law, I vaguely remember seeing action on behalf of the developer to limit impact fees get enacted in record time with huge support.  If The Villages wants to help the residents of our town, let them act now to support legislation removing the arcane traffic requirements for communities that are Florida state approved and state regulated 55 and over communities OR remove the red buttons on all of our gates that allow non-residents to enter our community.  The Villages can easily support this overwhelming safety issue for residents north of CR466, especially those living within the three wards of Lady Lake that have to deal with all this traffic.  Supporting this change in legislation and policy would demonstrate The Villages support for all of those residents that actually helped create this terrific community in which we live.

The growth is not going to stop.  The roads are what they are!  Common sense solutions do exist.  I urge the Commissioners of the Town of Lady Lake along with the Town Manager and Chief of Police to combine their efforts and help us solve this issue BEFORE there is a tragedy. HELP!

Robert Nyce is a resident of The Villages.

Marsha Shearer needs to stop drinking spiked Kool-aid!

In a Letter to the Editor, a Village of Buttonwood resident disagrees with Opinion writer Marsha Shearer’s assessment of politics.

We deserve a gate attendant in Dabney

A Village of Dabney resident contends that he and his neighbors deserve the safety and security of a gate attendant. Read his Letter to the Editor.

Oh no! Not pickup driving fishermen!

A resident of the Ellie Villas in the Village of Chitty Chatty has some observations about the “pickup truck guys” who have reportedly been fishing in The Villages.

Hate speech is coming from the evil side

A Village of Country Club Hills resident responds to a previous Letter to the Editor and offers his own theory about the source of hate speech in our country.

Linda Hallinan and DJT haters with TDS

In a Letter to the Editor, a Village of Fernandina resident offers a diagnosis of Trump Derangement Syndrome suffered by fellow residents.