DUNEDIN — A plan to close Pinehurst Road during Dunedin High School's annual homecoming parade Wednesday has rankled some residents who say they won't be able to get to or from their homes during the event.
Bryan Martin's home on McCarty Street is within the closure area, which is from Michigan Boulevard to Falcon Drive. Martin, 40, said he already has delays getting on and off his street during school start and dismissal times since the city closed Patricia Avenue on the west side of his neighborhood this year.
"When they closed that, now our only option is to go down Pinehurst," Martin said.
With Pinehurst closed for the parade, Martin said he will not be able to get to his street, nor will numerous other residents on both sides of the road who lack other means of accessing their streets.
"The irony is this is a homecoming event that is going to keep people from coming home," he said.
Pinehurst is scheduled to be closed from 20 minutes to an hour during the parade, said Dunedin city engineer Tom Burke. (Last year's parade took less than 25 minutes from start to finish, according to a Dunedin High School newsletter.) The closure is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
Burke said he understands it is inconvenient, but he hopes residents will exercise patience or be willing to modify their schedules slightly so the students can celebrate their homecoming.
Burke said the closure for the parade has been going on for many years, with few complaints from residents along the route. More concerns have been voiced this year, likely because Patricia was closed between McLean Street and San Salvador Drive for traffic calming. That decision has fans and detractors.
Burke said his department is awaiting further traffic study data about the Patricia closing that will be presented to the City Commission in October.
In regard to concerns about emergency vehicles being able to access the streets blocked on Wednesday, Burke said that school officials and first responders who work in the area are all aware that parade participants will be moved out of the way if emergency vehicles need to get through.
Rita Farlow can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 445-4157.