Ray McNulty’s “compromise” in last week’s 32963 does nothing to resolve the heated divide on Twin Pairs. It’s frustrating that the city has no effective way of countering the press’ lack of fact and often-erroneous conclusions. Helpful as the city-sponsored public forums have been, they only touch a small handful of residents compared to the press’ megaphone.
If Ray’s proposed compromise, which he admits is a meaningless token refinement of the current state, is adopted, proponents of HW60 lane repurposing will argue that we still have as wide a roadway going through downtown as is I95, and developers will not invest in the residential units that experts say are needed to make Historic Vero Downtown vibrant.
Conversely, opponents will claim that the changes, ignoring that they are trivial, did not lead to a revival of our city center. Bottom line, a token compromise like the one proposed by Ray McNulty, will keep residents fully divided on an issue that is pivotal to Vero’s future. With further decay to historic downtown, a future council will commission yet another study to tell us what they have repeatedly told us.
A real compromise would be to initially implement the Twin Pairs concept, without the most controversial but not essential parallel parking feature, via painted bump outs, corner posts and potted plants. That can be accomplished well before HW60 is resurfaced, ideally while the VB Downtown Redevelopment Plan is being shaped and act as a real a proof of concept on lane repurposing. A painted interim solution probably could be fully funded by the historic downtime business organization. I fear that the redevelopment plan will just become another binder on the shelf if the city does not commit to lane elimination.
If it turns out that lane reduction leads to the feared bottlenecks on HW60, it simply can be reversed when the resurfacing project happens in 2027 or even sooner. If the traffic calming measures work the way experts claim they will, then the City can establish permanent raised bump-outs, wider sidewalks and more extensive landscaping in an incremental way as a key component of the Downtown Redevelopment Plan. The cost could be funded by the properties and developers benefiting directly from the wider sidewalks. We may be able to avoid expensive rainwater system changes by retaining current road width at segments that have a drain, and use them to get delivery truck drop offs and the occasional disabled vehicle out of the two through lanes. Other cities with similar urban street challenges have implemented such softer, lower cost solutions.
Let's embrace a real proof of concept compromise while spending as little as is possible.