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Theaters called an irritant

Published Oct. 4, 2005

(ran LA)

The area's first first-run movie theater, Muvico's Palm Harbor 10, is causing occasional traffic backups the Batmobile would have trouble going through.

The new theater complex is on the west side of U.S. 19, but its entrance is on Cypress Pond Road, which also leads to apartments, homes and condominiums.

"I think my residents are happy with the theater, but it's going to take some afterthought to correct the situation," said Cinde Taylor, 40, the manager of Fifth Season 1 apartments.

Last week, when Batman Forever premiered, the left lane of northbound U.S. 19 had up to 18 cars at one time waiting to turn left onto Cypress Pond Road.

Cypress Pond, meanwhile, was jammed with traffic leaving the theaters, which opened last month. Motorists trying to turn north onto U.S. 19 had to cross the same median opening filled with vehicles coming into Cypress Pond.

Residents of the Glenbrook neighborhood and Fifth Season 1 apartments have taken the brunt of the traffic jams.

"It impacts the residents because you have to wait extremely long to pull out of that intersection," said Tom Ricchi, 49, president of the Glenbrook Homeowners' Association.

The entrance of the theaters also is dangerous, said Ricchi's daughter, Kaley, 18:

"Every time I turn into the street, someone is pulling right out in front of me. I'm very scared they might hit me."

Muvico managers did not return telephone calls left by a reporter.

Traffic planners for the county and state said they had not heard of the crunch.

"But if there is a problem, we will have to take look at it," said Marian Scorza, a representative of the Florida Department of Transportation.

The theaters' neighbors also have complained of increased litter and overflow parking.

Monday morning, Ricchi picked up five empty beer bottles and a champagne bottle near the theaters on Cypress Pond, he said.

"This shouldn't be happening," he said.

When the parking lot is full, some moviegoers will park on the side of Cypress Pond, said Sharene Arft, 34, a Glenbrook resident.

"Then you have people running on the road," Arft said.

Some moviegoers park in the Fifth Season lot, across from the theater, said Taylor, the apartment manager. She plans to install "No Parking" signs this month.

"They block the entrance and exit," Taylor said. "It inconveniences my residents."