The county’s roadways have changed over the years, and we are confident that changes will continue to occur in the decades ahead. Traffic is increasing as a result of the county’s growing population and success as a tourism destination. As the county continues to market the islands and their beaches, we will certainly see an increase in tourism, which is necessary to sustain the local economy and jobs market. If properly managed, this can be a positive thing, as compared to other areas that are suffering population declines and falling tourism.
According to the Urban Land Institute (ULI), national trends for new developments reveal a growing demand for communities near active transportation trails, primarily those devoted to walking and bicycling. As people move away from dependency on automobiles, they are moving towards cycling, walking and using public transport. Studies show that Americans are driving few miles, buying more bicycles than cars and trucks combined, and are joining bike-sharing programs in record numbers.
Some experts believe there is a real opportunity for residential developments to tie into the active transportation trend. As the ULI noted, nearly 43% of journeys in the U.S. are less than three miles and 52% of Americans would like to live in a community where they are not reliant on cars for transportation. As communities invest in alternative forms of transportation, development trends will continue to grow in this direction and potentially have significant impact on traffic patterns.
A solution will need to be reached in regard to the aging Cortez Bridge, hopefully one that safely accommodates different modes of transportation like biking and walking and allows for a mass transit lane to reduce car traffic over the bridge. As part of the approval process with Manatee County, we completed a traffic study to predict the potential traffic impact of the proposed Peninsula Bay development. This study revealed that the majority of Peninsula Bay traffic will be headed inland, rather than out to the beach. It is our hope that the county would use some of the tax revenue collected from our development to provide bicycle lanes along Cortez Road.
We are committed to doing our part to help address traffic concerns. As an example, Peninsula Bay will offer alternative modes of transportation such as walking trails, bicycle lanes in the roadways, and boating via the marina. Our community will have amenities such as on-site dining and a kayak launch that will allow residents to pursue recreation within walking distance of their homes. Peninsula Bay looks forward to being part of the conversation and an active partner in promoting innovative solutions.