[UPDATE] Tallahassee, FL - March 7, 2012
The West Tennessee Street project is still in its infancy. Talk of the project has been in the works since 2008. The plan would convert the oustide lanes between Monroe and Ocala to just bus and bicycle lanes. The plan, still up for public debate, has hit a slight road block, or so city leaders thought.
Commissioner tell us they got wind that the Secretary for the Department of Transportation, Ananth Prasad had said the six lane highway is a state road, that the city has no jurisdiction over it, and that when the project is finally submitted to the DOT, he would deny it.
City commissioners immediately contacted him.
City Commissioner, Andrew Gillum says, "He wanted to clarify with us that he has every intention of allowing of process of getting public input, debating what the options are along Tennessee Street, and then presenting the Department of Transportation with something that they can consider."
We tried reaching Secretary Prasad for comment, but he was not available. Since word had gotten out that the Department of Transportation might deny the West Tennessee Street project, commissioners thought it best to hold this special meeting to share what they had learned in their conversation with Prasad.
So for now, Mayor John Marks says they will keep going with their plans. He says, "We will go through with the public hearing to find out what the citizens want."
The city has not yet submitted any final plan to the Florida Department of Transportation.
The next public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 14 at 9 a.m. to accommodate business owners. In the past, many business owners have said they do not support the project. They fear the construction and congestion will deter customers. .
[UPDATE] Tallahassee, FL - March 1, 2012 -
Local business owners are concerned about changes being proposed to one of Tallahassee's busiest streets.
They say Tennessee Street will no longer be busy, nor will their businesses.
Robert Hines just opened his business on West Tennessee Street eight days ago.
He says the City of Tallahassee is throwing a curve ball at him.
Hines says, "The investments that we put into this place to have something new happen, a change in this economy is something I do kind of fear. I'd love for things to be a little more stable, feel a little more secure before any big changes would happen."
The changes would be turning one of the driving lanes on Tennessee Street into a bus and bike lane.
One local business owner says, "They can't even determine to stop at a red light and you're going to expect them to know that they can go into that lane over there and make a right-hand turn? I'm sorry, but, I have a real problem with the intellect of some of the drivers on Tennessee Street."
The Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce held an informational meeting Thursday to allow business owners an opportunity to voice their opinions.
Another man at the meeting says, "It's going to make people use other streets, so it's going to send all of our customers to Tharpe Street, to anywhere else but here."
Tom Carella's business has been on Tennessee Street for 38 years. He's also worried a reduction in traffic will mean a reduction in business.
Carella says, "It is my income. It's how I feed my family. It's how I buy things in the community."
Someone working with the project told the crowd at the meeting, "What we're tying to do is look at creative ways to allow the traffic to keep flowing and keep moving, so that this area can keep growing and developing."
There will be a couple more public meetings at city hall before the commission votes on the issue. Those public meetings are scheduled for March 14th and 28th at Tallahassee City Hall. The plan goes before the commission April 11th.
For information about the plan, "Moving Tallahassee: Cars Optional," go to talgov.com.
Tallahassee, Florida - March 1, 2012 -
Tallahassee business owners fill Momma Goldberg's Deli on West Tennessee Street. Many are voicing their opinions that they are against the Tennessee Street proposal. They're concerned changing the number of driving lanes will negatively affect their business.
The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce's Growth Management and Governmental Affairs Committees is addressing an initiative known as "Moving Tallahassee - Cars Optional." This initiative is a pending proposal to implement a pilot program involving the conversion of the outside lanes of Tennessee Street, between Monroe and Ocala, from vehicle travel lanes to restricted use of bus (mass transit) and bicycles.