“Security” Gains Ridiculed as Bunnell Agrees To 1-Way Traffic in Front of Sheriff’s New HQ
FlaglerLive | September 15, 2015
In anticipation of the opening later this year of the new sheriff’s headquarters in downtown Bunnell, Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre requested that Bunnell close a portion of Canakaris Street and make the portion from Hospital Drive to South Chapel Street one way. He cited traffic flow and security as reasons. The Bunnell City Commission rejected the request.
On Monday, a divided city commission approved an amended plan. No portion of any street around the new administration building—or what used to be the old Memorial hospital—will be closed. But Canakaris Street from Dr. Carter Boulevard to South Chapel Street will run one way, from east to west. The previous proposal had to get the clearance of the planning and zoning board. But since this one entails no road closures, it does not. One business owner whose property was affected by the earlier change had opposed it. He now offers no objections.
Going by there, they have a fence around the backside, going part of the backside, so I’m not sure what security is going to be enhanced by having the traffic pattern change anyway,” Commissioner Elbert Tucker, who opposed the change, said. “You can still buy fertilizer, you can still buy diesel fuel, you can still rent a truck.”
He was referring to the ingredients Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols used to fill a Ryder Truck and explode it at the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, a terrorist act that killed 168 people.
“I’m not particularly enamored of changing the traffic pattern because of security,” Tucker said. “We may find another reason, but I don’t think security is the prevailing pattern.”Commissioner Bill Baxley uses Canakaris Street, first going east, then west, every day, because his mother is at the assisted living facility on the east side of the sheriff’s building, on Dr. Carter Boulevard. “I find it a lot of times when I come out by the post office to get on Moody Boulevard, the traffic is so heavy heading East on moody Boulevard, you’re not able to make a left hand turn to get on Dr. Carter and turn back in.” That requires him—and others, from his observation—to opt for Canakaris Street.
“Why are we changing ways of the street? Streets are designed to be running in two directions, and you’re not increasing any security, just like Mr. Tucker said,” Baxley said. He claims the property owner who gave up opposing the change “surrendered,” rather than agreed to the change, because he didn’t think he could win the battle. “It’s also the people at the nursing home, I talked to them, and they’re not in favor of it as well because of the congestion they think its going to cause.”
Bunnell City Manager Larry Williams said security was no longer the motive, nor was the sheriff making the request. “This is more or less a staff recommendation, and not any sheriff worrying about security,” Williams said. “It has nothing at all to do with security. This is about the flow of the traffic to keep the flow going properly.” The property owner, Williams said, didn’t “surrender,” but rather accepted the change willingly.
“I’m sure the pattern of traffic isn’t normal right now because of construction, but there’s very little traffic that goes toward Dr. Carter from the west,” Williams said. “If there is any problem, we have to change the flow, the sheriff is right there and we can change the flow.”
Baxley didn’t buy it. “Can you explain to me how that’s going to help the flow?”
“Traffic will not be exiting into each other,” Williams said. (During the Memorial Hospital days, the street was a two-way street.)