Guest Opinion: Why we support the flyover

Navarre has always been a destination for its inhabitants. From its first homestead to today’s families and visitors, people have come to Navarre to put their feet up and settle down.

But a destination means more than a journey home or a visit to the beach. It means a sense of place, a place where not only the basic necessities are met but emotional ties are created. A destination means a town where stores and hotels link movie theaters and music concerts.

In creating our town, we can seize the moment and deal with what this flyover could do for us. A flyover is a raised highway used in a high traffic area of a city. They are used to get fast traffic through an area. The proposed flyover would encompass the area of U.S. Highway 98 from Ortega Street to Andorra Street.

Where today’s Highway 98 exists, a smoother flow of traffic would exist with much less traffic to endure. Ramps would be provided on each end as the traffic approaches this Heart of Navarre flyover area. There would also be easy traffic flowing areas at the Navarre Beach bridge and Highway 87. Once realized, we would all cheer the safer driving conditions and less danger zones that presently exist here while we begin building our great town of Navarre.

Submitted renderings

I believe we could take all the lands on the north and south sides of the flyover area and do magnificent things that would enhance all our lives. We could begin planning accordingly in a unified way that would set this area of the Heart of Navarre apart from anywhere else.

The county owns a beautiful area of waterfront stretching some 1,600 feet in width. I’d propose we just call this Navarre’s Beach. As exists today, have you ever tried to get into this beautiful beach? It’s a nightmare. With 6 to 8 lanes of robust traffic speeding through, this would make it obviously impossible to get to this waterfront from lands on the northside.

Our officers wouldn’t spend all of their day writing up accident reports. A flyover would certainly take away this danger and bring “all the lands” together as the Heart of Navarre if planned correctly.

Consider this realization. Lands on the north side of the waterfront park would also be able to see clearly the water through the openings between the pilings, wide clear panoramic views of the water. The traffic on the Flyover would also have that panoramic view.

Take for example the traffic flow of Highway 87 and the Navarre Beach bridge.  With the flyover, that flow of traffic would become a time saver, a safer driving condition and less dangerous than it presently is. Traffic below this flyover would just flow comfortably through these roundabouts, letting drivers go any direction they might want.

Now I know there are some of those who have businesses within the flyover area that oppose such a plan. The Publix Shopping Center developers, James at Smokehouse, and Dewey Destin’s do as of now. I know them all. This is my attempt to plant a seed as to why I think it’ll be better for them to have the flyover. The traffic congestion relief should do it for sure. Their existence within this “Community Landmark” type setting, with marketing targeted towards this image, should support their success.

In Pensacola, there’s a Publix at the corner of 12th Avenue and Cervantes Street.  This is part of East Hill, a revitalized area of Pensacola. That Publix is so busy with customers carrying smiles and in cheerful moods. They are so busy. Go see for yourselves. They are proud of their area and it shows.

Why would we want a cluster of dump trucks, delivery trucks, accidents galore, stop and go traffic, people desperately trying to just get in and out of the Heart of Navarre area? That’s what would exist, and in time it would get worse. If not addressed now, I believe people would go to the shopping areas outside this area or just put off getting what they want. Most would avoid it like the plague.

Businesses like Smokehouse, Dewey’s, Winn-Dixie and Publix incorporating themselves in this “community” setting would do substantially better. The Heart of Navarre would become instead a gathering place, a town, unsurpassed anywhere.

I think we should embrace this flyover and help make it happen sooner rather than later. Let your opinions be told. Email Sherry.alaghemand@dot.state.fl.us.  Check out the 3-D renderings of the proposed project at Navarrepress.com/headlines/fdot-sets-98-flyover-as=recommended-alternative/.

Thank you.

 

Bobby Benaquis

TC’s Front Porch

 

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