Proposed Crossroads development in Manatee County must address traffic

April 5, 2014 

Whiting Preston, President of Manatee Fruit Company, reacts as a passing motorist tells him to 'smile' near a sign on 1300 acres of his land near 75th Street West and Cortez. Preston and family have a website where they encourage people to visit and give input. TIFFANY TOMPKINS-CONDIE/Bradenton Herald


The newly proposed Crossroads community sounds like a good idea, and it is refreshing that the land owner/developer broke ranks and actually asked for input from the community.

But isn't it in the wrong place? There just seems to be something incongruous about a planned community two miles from the best beach in Florida on the friendliest island.

I just wonder who needs to live in a self-contained planned city when they can already live in Cortez or Bradenton and enjoy the amenities the Gulf of Mexico has to offer.

I can see the advantages of a planned senior residential community with independent and assisted living capabilities.

But I think younger, healthy and even more affluent home owners and renters might not see any advantage to living in a planned neighborhood with so much else to offer outside of their gates.

Then there is the traffic to consider. Wow. If FDOT remains obstinate about not building a new bridge from 53rd Avenue to the island, then a new community of several thousand homes will make transiting west Bradenton untenable.

We have already marketed ourselves into regular traffic gridlock.

Is it bad enough? Absolutely.

If construction of this new community is to be approved, FDOT should commit to begin building a bridge to accommodate the increased traffic before any ground is broken.

Crossroads has created a literal fork in the road. One direction produces massive gridlock with little hope of preventing; the other direction accommodates the buildup and reduces the chances for unbearable gridlock.

Why don't we take the latter, smart path; it may take longer, especially convincing FDOT, but we can create something that is more useful and marketable, and certainly more friendly.

Jeff Reuter


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