HOLMES BEACH – The Coalition of Barrier Islands Elected Officials meeting is a time for the mayors of the four neighboring Island cities to get together to discuss common issues. Sometimes those discussions don’t go quite the way they planned.
While discussing the options that Longboat Key city leaders are considering to help improve vehicular traffic and keep pedestrians safe from drivers, Mayor George Spoll said he’d like Bradenton Beach city leaders to remove the roundabout at Bridge Street, which he believes causes traffic jams for drivers traveling north through his city.
“It’s an abomination,” Spoll said of the roundabout.
Bradenton Beach Mayor John Chappie said the roundabout needs to stay in place to help keep pedestrians and motorists safe in his city. He said the roundabout, with its yield signs and four crosswalks, helps to separate pedestrians from motorists, preventing accidents.
“We matter, too, in Bradenton Beach and on Anna Maria Island,” Chappie said. “It’s not just about Longboat Key.”
Chappie added that, as far as he’s concerned, Bradenton Beach city leaders wouldn’t entertain restructuring the intersection with Gulf Drive solely in an attempt to alleviate traffic on Longboat Key.
Spoll said he’d like to push to have the intersection restructured.
Chappie added that he wants his city to be a good neighbor to the one to the south, however, there is more to consider concerning safety at the congested intersection before potential traffic slowdowns are addressed.
“I don’t want to start a conversation by throwing down the gauntlet,” Chappie said.
He took a summary of the conversation with Spoll at the BIEO meeting to a Bradenton Beach commission meeting. Commissioners thanked Chappie for the information but did not discuss the matter further.