Safety of students tops concerns about proposed sidewalk

Indian Harbour Beach officials want to hear both sides before taking action on plans for a sidewalk on Yuma Drive in Indian Harbour Beach for safety of students walking and bicycling to Ocean Breeze Elementary.

After it was clear that there were strong reactions for and against the sidewalk, a Community Input Meeting on the issue was set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, at Indian Harbour Beach City Hall.

The city was first notified of a concern about students walking or biking from the subdivision west of Yuma Drive conflicting with car traffic from parents dropping off or picking up the students from the school.

A meeting involving Indian Harbour Beach Police Chief David Butler, the concerned citizen and school officials resulted in a concept drawing of possible improvements featuring a sidewalk on the west side of Yuma Drive between Sioux Drive and Cheyenne Drive to connect to the existing crosswalk at that intersection and provide an additional crosswalk on Yuma Drive near Sioux Drive. Yuma Drive has a 60-foot-wide right-of-way, which includes the street itself, plus curbs and land on both sides of the street.

The city had the right-of-way surveyed to determine the feasibility of installing the sidewalk along the west side of the roadway. However, when residents saw the survey work and stakes, some residents living along Yuma Drive called the city, objecting to the plan and indicating they felt the sidewalk is not warranted and will significantly impact their driveways and landscaping.

When additional objections were received from residents living on the streets west of Yuma Drive, Indian Harbour Beach City Manager decided to make sure to get all sides of the story before proceeding with the sidewalk plan.

“I committed to the residents that the city would hold a community meeting to solicit their input on this proposal before proceeding or not proceed with the project,’’ he said.

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