Not so long ago, driving on Bryan Dairy Road, an east-west corridor south of Largo, was like a ramble through the countryside. There was little development along the road, the lanes were wide and the pavement was smooth. It was a pastoral alternative to jam-packed, blood-pressure-spiking Ulmerton Road.
But that was before the 118th Avenue extension was built, linking Bryan Dairy Road to Interstate 275 and creating an even more popular alternative to Ulmerton for drivers traveling east or west.
That also was before businesses began popping up all along Bryan Dairy Road, before the Young-Rainey STAR Center got up and running, and before Raytheon moved hundreds of its employees into the former Eckerd Corp. headquarters.
Now Bryan Dairy Road is busy, especially during rush hour, with congestion that sometimes rivals Ulmerton. But with fewer lanes, Bryan Dairy motorists don't have as many ways to get around an accident or traffic jam.
The result: Pinellas County is planning to add lanes to Bryan Dairy Road.
Some residents have opposed the widening, theorizing that the more lanes there are, the more traffic there will be, and they use the condition of Bryan Dairy now as Exhibit 1.
Others consider the conditions on Bryan Dairy hazardous and have called on county officials to fix the problem for the safety and welfare — not to mention the sanity — of the traveling public.
Those interested in learning more details about the project or expressing their views may want to attend a public meeting at 5 p.m. June 12 at Osceola High School, 9751 98th St. N, in Seminole. County transportation and public works officials will be on hand to talk about the project and answer questions.
Many who have lived in Pinellas County for years wish for the times when it was still dotted with orange groves and pastures, fewer people lived here and streets still had that back roads kind of feel.
Bryan Dairy Road still has a pastoral-sounding name, but it has transformed into a major corridor for east-west commuter traffic. If the road is carrying too much traffic for its original design, it needs to be improved to make it safer.