No roundabout, no T-intersection for Whiddon

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Three speed tables in the works

By Kellie Parkin

Whiddon Avenue is back in the spotlight again, this time with a new design in mind – keeping it the same as it is, with a few improvements.

As part of the largest streets and utilities construction project in the history of Cedar Key, the Community Redevelopment Agency committed to redesigning the stretch of Whiddon Avenue that runs the entire length of Cedar Key School, to make it safer for pedestrians, vehicles, boat trailers and golf carts.

Earlier this year, Cedar Key commissioners were not satisfied with the options of a roundabout or T-intersection, so they sent CRA Director Greg Lang back to the engineers to find out if the road could be minimally changed and still made safer.

The engineers found that by adding large traffic tables, moving the front parking, shifting the road slightly and creating a softer radius, it could be a safer road.

“The traffic tables are calming devices,” Lang said. “The purpose is to slow traffic and they do that by the change in elevation.”

Normally, traffic tables are not as long as the proposed 40 feet for Whiddon, but due to heavy boat traffic, Lang said, boat trailers need to be able to enter the table completely before leaving it. The tables will extend the entire width of the road and are four inches high. “That’s all it takes to slow people down.”

The original plans that Lang presented Tuesday night called for two tables – one for each approach to the school. At the recommendation of Police Chief Virgil Sandlin, commissioners voted to add a third table north of the last parking lot toward Gulf Blvd.

Commissioners Pat O’Neal, Gene Hodges, Scott Dennison and Mayor Sue Colson voted unanimously for the design. Commissioner Heath Davis was absent.

Now Lang will take the new design to the School Board of Levy County and the Cedar Key Water District for their input.

“They are all partners in this and we have to come to some sort of mutual consensus on the design,” Lang said. “I want more input from the community, too.” There were four community members in attendance at Tuesday night’s CRA meeting.

The Phase II Streets and Utilities project plans, which include the Whiddon Avenue design, are currently being finalized and should be complete by mid November, Lang said.