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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Dunedin citizens group wants Alt. U.S. 19 rerouted off Edgewater Drive



DUNEDIN -- A recent Times story about a citizen advisory group that wants Alt. U.S. 19 rerouted off Edgewater Drive has drawn quite a bit of chatter from residents who want the scenic route to stay just the way it is.

The bid is part of the Edgewater Drive Advisory Committee's long-term improvement and preservation plan for a nearly mile-long stretch of road between President and Union streets.

Ideas include trimming the mangroves that threaten to block the public's view of the waterfront, adding multiple beautification and safety features to the city's Edgewater Linear Park, and updating city codes to reinforce things like maximum building heights and how close to the street developers can build.

The group's report also contains its longtime push for the city to purchase and raze a 12,000-square-foot unfinished shell of a home that they say blights the waterfront. (Dunedin officials have repeatedly said they can't afford to purchase the property at 570 Edgewater Drive).

The advisory committee's Alt. U.S. 19 suggestion to move the federal highway designation to another road -- perhaps the four-lane County Road 1/Keene Road -- is aimed at diverting away through-traffic that tends to bottleneck at Main Street and back up traffic along the two-lane drive. Committee members also discussed how motorists tend to speed down the popular thoroughfare, making it dangerous for pedestrians to cross the road to access Edgewater Linear Park.

Some folks who commented on last week's story about the proposal said directing travelers away from Alt. U.S. 19 would be bad for downtown businesses. Some complained that the other proposed improvements seemed unnecessary and would use taxpayer money to benefit the property values of a few waterfront residents.

Moving the Alt. U.S. 19 designation wouldn't be unprecedented. Largo and Clearwater successfully lobbied the Florida Department of Transportion to move the federal highway in 2001 from Clearwater-Largo Road/Fort Harrison Avenue to Seminole Boulevard/Missouri Avenue as part of a $4.2 million project.

What do you think of the citizen committee's proposals for Alt. U.S. 19, as well as Edgewater Linear Park, the 570 Edgewater Dr. mansion and elsewhere along the drive?

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 2:38pm]


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