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Letters to the Editors

Blind Pass plan protects families

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 17, 2000

The proposal to close streets along Blind Pass Road protects our property values and provides safety to our residents and children. When the Department of Transportation announced the expansion of Blind Pass Road, the street closures plan was formed. This plan is the perfect solution to forming a buffer between our homes and a five-lane road. Most residents applauded and signed a petition agreeing with the concept.

But there are opponents threatening the project. A small, vocal group is trying to prevent the closures. It is a battle between older residents resisting change and young families wanting the secludedness of cul de sac streets.

Opponents say the closures will block the exits in an evacuation and prevent emergency crews from arriving quickly. But the plan includes new drainage systems that will correct the standing-water problem during storms. Also, the enclosure curbs will be built to permit access by emergency vehicles.

The opponents are also concerned about garbage trucks backing into side streets, claiming the trash collectors' view while backing is obstructed. The waste management department is confident of its workers' ability to back down side streets: They do it every day in every other neighborhood on this island.

By creating closed streets along Blind Pass Road the traffic attempting to cut through our neighborhood will diminish. A traffic signal is guaranteed on the corner of 84th Avenue and Blind Pass Road; this will allow our children to cross five lanes of traffic safely. It is also reasonable to assume that property values will increase with the new low-traffic-flow neighborhood. A sense of community will flourish when there is less transient traffic, and our district will experience a sense of neighborhood.

A "straw poll" was mailed by the city to survey the residents. These ballots have no identifiable signatures or system to prevent inappropriate parties from casting votes and should not be given any weight when deciding this issue. Our elected officials should know that they cannot make all residents happy, but in the face of change they will have to take a position. They should review the proposal, listen to the residents' concerns, then make an educated decision. Let's all pray that it will be the decision to keep our children safe, our property values high, and our neighborhoods peaceful.

-- Carol Giovannoni, St. Pete Beach

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