VERO BEACH, Fla. — Clair Brunetti makes custom jewelry.
Her space is on 14th Avenue in downtown Vero Beach, so she’s seen traffic race around the corner along State Road 60, commonly referred to as the “Twin Pairs”.
“When I’m driving, I’m driving very carefully,” says Brunetti.
But she’s not completely certain about a proposal to spend $100,000 for a study to determine whether its feasible to eliminate an eastbound and two westbound lanes on 60 to build wider bike lanes and add parking spaces.
“It probably would slow down traffic. But opening your car door on a road where people are doing 40 or 50 miles an hour raises some safety issues in my mind,” said Brunetti.
Next door to Brunetti is Sue Gromis with Main Street Vero Beach.
Gromis says crowds have returned downtown. She too has mixed feelings about the proposal.
“It’s not so much about parking down here. It’s about speed. I think we’ve got to slow it down and enforce it,” said Gromis.
If the city wants to act, it needs to do so now.
The Florida Department of Transportation plans to repave Twin Pairs in about six years, but any city requests to change the road have to be done before the design phase of the work, that’s just two years away.
Reducing traffic flow isn’t unheard of. A few years ago, the Village of Tequesta had US 1 reduced from three lanes to two throughout the village.
At Joey’s Downtown Dapper Barber Shop, the thought is - helping Vero Beach business is good, but at what cost?
“Trust me, I’m all for more parking and getting more people into these businesses. But at the same time, I think we need to take the community’s safety into perspective as well,” said Joey Lucchini.
If the city decides to pass on any changes now, it could be another 20 years before the topic resurfaces.