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44th Avenue Progress Report: If the Road Fits, Build It

County Commissioner John Chappie

BRADENTON -- County Commissioners have lowered the speed limit, designed a buffer, narrowed the road (in theory) and managed to get the project rolling again. The plan now is to build a living fence -- designed for ficus, though a substitute may be necessary -- that will buffer the sounds and protect the homes that lie closest to the road. This replaced the PVC fence idea, and was far more favorable according to residents.

At the previous meeting, residents were not pleased that the speed limit was proposed to be 45 mph. Staff reduced it to 40 and residents won over the majority of commissioners to have it further lowered to 35 mph. The speed will remain 35 for the distance between 30th Street to 45th Street. The road will remain as designed; 12 feet in width, shouldering a 4 foot-wide bike path.

The request by residents was to narrow the road, so as to slow down traffic for safety. They hoped for an 11-foot width. The redesign seemed a bit troublesome for staff until Commissioner John Chappie suggested moving the paint. His plan was to widen the bike path to 5 feet in width, moving the paint line over and making the road just 11 feet in width. It was received as satisfactory even by the commissioners that didn't vote for the complete submitted plan.

Residents knew commissioners worked hard and long to make this work. The vote was 5 to 2, to proceed with the Living fence, 35 mph, and the 11 foot road. Commissioners Bustle and Hayes voted against the changes, as they were in favor of the more agressive development of the road.


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