LABELLE -- Traffic was the issue during the March 10 LaBelle City Commission, focused on a curved stretch of SR 80 which intersects with Martin Luther King Blvd.
During the public comment section LaBelle resident, Hugo Vargas, told commissioners it might be a good time to consider adding a fourth traffic light in town, due to people speeding.
The three existing traffic lights are all in between two blocks of the city and Vargas thought adding one at Martin Luther King Avenue and State Road 80 would be useful.
He said that exiting from Lashey St. onto SR 80 is on a curve that doesn’t provide adequate visibility so one has to exit at a high speed to get into the middle lane to avoid traffic. He said many go out of their way to use Belmont Street but it is considered by some still a dangerous intersection.
A traffic light would not only slow motorists down but also give pedestrians a way to safely cross the highway.
Presently there is a speed-monitoring device along the road that flashes the speed of passing motorists, placed there in an effort to slow motorists down. But it hasn’t made a difference, Vargas said.
Commissioner Jackie Radica said she would bring the request to the Safety Commission, of which she is a part of.
Another resident who lives on the other side of SR 80 also spoke about traffic concerns.
She said she was representing Moss Landing Manufactured Homes Community and RV Resort, a 55+ community, asked commissioners what could be done about restoring direct access to SR 80 from the park.
She said the only way to get in and out of Moss Landing now is to go all the way across an undeveloped development site that has no lighting, whereas previously they had access to a road which has apparently been turned into a golf cart trail, no longer suitable for other motor vehicles.
“The logical thing would be able to come out at MLK (Martin Luther King Boulevard) which is already a dangerous enough intersection,” she said.
She added that the Shell gas station located on Shady Oaks Avenue is a high traffic area that is challenging to residents to maneuver.
“We need to have a light on that road,” she said.
Staff commented that when the Tiny Homes property on the other end of Shady Lane was being developed, there was significant opposition from the neighborhood from using that road for access. At that time, the city closed out the interest on that road and vacated it after advertising its intentions and holding several public meetings on the road.
The only way to re-establish the road would require the city to acquire the property from either Moss Landing or someone else and redevelop it.
A decision to put a light on MLK or at Belle Arbor is controlled by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), not the city.