Estates residents oppose Vanderbilt Beach Road extension

Residents of quiet Golden Gate Estates cul-de-sacs fear a major thoroughfare is about to go right through their neighborhoods.

They’re speaking out against the county’s plan to extend Vanderbilt Beach Road eastward to alleviate traffic on Immokalee Road.

“Overwhelmingly, nobody wants this road,” said David Meffen, who lives on one of the streets in Vanderbilt’s would-be path.

The county is still in the design phase of a project it put aside in 2008 during economic troubles. Construction wouldn’t start until 2020, but county officials have already fielded numerous concerns.

“The planners have not given one single good reason to connect our road to the extension,” resident Kirk Reed said.

The road he lives on is one of a series of north-south streets — beginning with Seventh Street Northwest and continuing east of Wilson Boulevard — that are due east of the point where Vanderbilt Beach Road stops its eastward run.

The first phase of the project would bring Vanderbilt Beach Road to 16th Street Northeast at an estimated cost of $94 million.

Reed doesn’t want any more traffic on a street where children play.

“They rollerskate, they bike, they walk,” he said. “The elderly folks walk their dogs here.”

Meffen said he bought his home so he could live on a street with a cul-de-sac at one end, not a county highway.

Neighbor Terry Miller expressed similar sentiments.

“It’s always been nice and quiet and laid back here,” he said. “That’s why I moved here.”

Still, Miller said he’s willing to deal with change as the county addresses congestion and searches for alternatives to cutting cul-de-sacs.

“I believe progress is progress, so we need to do that also,” he said.

 

Reporter:Hannah Vogel
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