Another Reprieve for South Beach Residents
By Anne McKay Garris
Although one Clearwater City Council member opined, at last week's work session, that Clearwater Beach residents would, "realize that one way streets on the South Beach are safest for our residents, although they don't see it now," and hoped they would "understand that this is somewhat of an inconvenience, but they need to expect that as residents of the Beach," the vote, at Thursday night's Council meeting, was to postpone a decision on one-way streets for South Clearwater Beach until after Spring Break.
Whether or not the large number of Clearwater Beach citizens, who turned up for the City Commission meeting to protest the one-way street plan, influenced the decision remains to be seen.
The plan, which has not been abandoned but only postponed, was to make Coronado Avenue one-way going south and Hamden Street one-way heading north. According to Clearwater's Traffic Engineer, Paul Bertels, this would empty the two parking garages planned for Coronado more efficiently. According to the residents of South Beach, it would also make leaving their homes impossible during busy traffic times. But good traffic flow is important to tourism on Clearwater Beach, according to one City Council member, and "we need to make that happen."
Even as the Council argued that one-way pairs would speed up the movement of traffic, they worried about pedestrian safety, and ordered more visible pedestrian cross walks in the area. According to police records, with dozens of construction workers' cars using Coronado Drive since the parking on Memorial Causeway was removed, there have still been no accidents reported, either of cars or injured pedestrians.
At the Work Session, Bertels told the Council that the one-way pairs for South Beach had been on and off the table for 36 years and rejected on two occasions by past Councils. Hearing the arguments of the Clearwater citizens to put the one-way pairs on South Gulfview, or leave the traffic system as is, you could understand why.
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