Palmetto commissioners tired of Green Bridge traffic jams

rdymond@bradenton.comFebruary 4, 2014 

PALMETTO -- The Palmetto City Commission unanimously agreed Monday it's time to officially explore why morning traffic backs up every workday on the Green Bridge into Bradenton.

"I am hearing that people want to move out of Palmetto because they are sick of the morning traffic over the Green Bridge," said Commissioner Tambra Varnadore.

Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant agreed to Commissioner Charles Smith's request to put the item on a future agenda. She also said she will write a letter of concern about the traffic to the Sarasota-Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization if commissioners ask.

Traffic lights first encountered south off Green Bridge at Third Avenue West in downtown Bradenton near the Bishop Planetarium are at the heart of the issue, commissioners said. The green light cycle is too short, commissioners said, backing traffic north across the Green Bridge.

"I think Bradenton is more interested in moving traffic east and west than north and south," said Allen Tusing, Palmetto director of public works. "The lights stay green longer east and west."

Palmetto Police Chief Rick Wells said he has had "several discussions" with Bradenton officials regarding traffic signal cycles.

"In their opinion, it is doing what they want," Wells said.

The Herald was not able to reach any Bradenton officials after the Monday night meeting to get a response.

Varnadore brought up the subject of traffic, indicating that while much attention is being paid to the

Fort Hamer Bridge to relieve traffic in East Manatee, no one is addressing Palmetto's problems.

"The Fort Hamer Bridge will help out east, but we'll still have traffic problems on the DeSoto and Green bridges," Varnadore said.

Smith said the red light camera compounds the problem on Third Avenue West in Bradenton.

"If you don't come to a full stop there you will get a $100 ticket," Smith said. "People are afraid even to turn there legally."

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter @ RichardDymond.

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