Killearn Residents Speak Out Against Northeast Gateway

Killearn Residents Speak Out Against Northeast Gateway

Approximately 300 people showed up to the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency kick-off meeting at the Holy Comforter School to hear a presentation about the Northeast Gateway.

After an informal question and answer session and a 45 minute presentation by officials, speaker after speaker voiced their concern about how the project would impact Killean Estates by connecting Shamrock, a two-lane road, to a new four-lane road, Welanuee Boulevard.

The basketball gym at the Holy Comforter Episcopal School was set-up with information kiosks addressing different aspects of the project. Blueprint and engineering officials were on hand to answer questions as interested citizens moved from kiosk to kiosk.

Shortly after 5:30 the presentation began.

Officials said the purpose of the meeting was to introduce the project. The presenters explained that the Planning, Development, & Environmental (PD&E) study and the public meeting were the first steps in an 18 month process that will result in a well vetted project.

The PD&E process ensures that consideration is given to engineering design, project costs, environmental and social impacts, and public input in the development of major transportation projects.

Officials said the purpose of the Northeast Gateway was to improve regional mobility and reduce traffic congestion by alleviating pressure on Centerville, Miccosukee and Thomasville Roads.

Citizens were told that feedback from the meeting would be taken into consideration. In addition, informal meetings could be scheduled by neighborhood groups.

In the Fall of 2019 an alternatives meeting will take place and various options will be considered. After that meeting, final revisions and recommendations will be produced ahead of a formal public hearing in the Spring of 2020.

Construction on the approved project is scheduled to begin in 2023.

Officials made it clear that there would be a lot of opportunity for public input throughout the process.

Near the end of the presentation, attendees had not yet been given an opportunity to comment and some citizens lost their patience and began shouting questions from their seats. Eventually, a microphone was passed around to speakers.

The focus of most comments addressed the impact of the project on Killearn Estates.


David Ferguson, the President of the Killearn Homeowners Association, said that KHA opposes the project and called it an “absolute disaster” for Killearn Estates.

Philip Inglese, a KHA board member, said that “Killearn Estates is getting dumped on.”

Dr. Erwin Jackson, who lives in Killearn Estates, said the project should be renamed “the death of Killearn Estates.”

Other comments included:

“the comprehensive plan should protect neighborhoods, this will ruin Killearn.”

“this only makes sense for developers.”

“take the extension up to Roberts Road.”

David Ferguson, the president of the KHA, told TR that he will look into setting up an informal meeting with project officials so that Killearn Estates’ residents can provide more input.

A local government official, who wished to remain anonymous, told TR that the meeting was more boisterous than the recent town hall meetings addressing the location of the new police headquarters.

TR will reach out to elected officials to gauge their thoughts on the project as presented at the meeting.

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17 Responses to "Killearn Residents Speak Out Against Northeast Gateway"

  1. James   March 11, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    Apparently the city had no plan when they approved a massive development now they want to dump on the neighborhood that has existed for nearly 50 years. Their stupidity never ceases to amaze me!

    Reply
  2. Thomas C. Hooker   March 11, 2019 at 9:58 pm

    I came away with the impression that this project is set in their minds, the minds being the Blueprint people and the CRTPA. They presented no alternative, only sticking to the ‘we must preserve our canopy roads’ mindset and it’s a done deal. Complain all you want but this is what we are doing. Screw the neighborhood. How progressive.

    The residents have it right. They don’t want additional traffic. They don’t want a speedway or a shortcut in their front yard.

    Killearn residents went through this 3-4 years ago when local government tried to shove through the widening of Olson Rd., Raymond Deihl, Killearney, Shamrock, Shannon Lakes, Kerry Forest, and Velda Dairy. Resident showed up en masse to the commission chambers.
    The residents said no then and local government backed off. I believe John Dailey opened the meeting with something like “let’s just take this project off of the table”.

    These were the people who brought us two local developers who pushed series of meetings under an LLC they created called ‘Imagine Tallahassee’. The purpose was to help steer how the penny sales tax would be used for Blueprint 2000 projects. These two are under Federal subpoena and likely still under FBI investigation?

    How could we trust the process then and how could we trust it now?

    Time to take it up with City Hall and the County Commisssion. Their contact information is on the web. Let them know. They either represent you or they still represent developers.

    Time to mobilize.

    Reply
    • Thomas C. Hooker   March 11, 2019 at 10:02 pm

      PS TR – I only saw one elected official (county) in attendance and he was very late.

      Reply
  3. David   March 12, 2019 at 6:53 am

    “Citizens were told that feedback from the meeting would be taken into consideration.” ………. and then ignored. It seems the City (and County) will do what they want any way.

    Reply
  4. David   March 12, 2019 at 7:03 am

    If you REALLY want to help Traffic, Try putting MORE Cops on Thomasville Rd and Capital Circle to pull over ALL the Vehicles where the Drivers are on their CELL PHONES. THEY are why Traffic is so backed up all the time. They stop SHORT, leaving up to 50 feet between them and the Car in Front, They take for ever to get going again, they take 2 Miles or more to get up to speed, they contently hit their brakes. Pull them over and write them up, Distracted Driving, Impeding Traffic, Disrupting The Flow of Traffic, Careless Driving, Hit them with all of those.

    Reply
  5. Laurie Davis   March 12, 2019 at 7:05 am

    I got the DISTINCT impression these people were only “humoring” us last night and didn’t care one whit about what we had to say. Although they wanted to appear interested and engaged, every one of the people in attendance from Blueprint didn’t appear particularly interested in what we had to say and kept throwing those “we know better” sidelong glances at each other while people were talking to them. This has been the prevailing behavior/attitude I have observed from people I have met and spoken to in our local government or at agencies being paid by the government to do the work. I for one am completely sick of being ignored and/or patronized.

    What can we do to stop these people when no one listens????? What can we do to stay involved during a ridiculously LONG process when life’s demands force more urgent issues upon our schedules? They take us through YEARS of meetings, forcing us to relinquish time meant to be spent with our families and other important obligations and then do whatever they want anyway.

    Why are we being forced to pay for and contend with a road that GOES NOWHERE WE NEED TO TRAVEL TO? How many trips to Costco can one make, and why do we need to travel 55 mph to get there? Why would I go MILES and MILES out of my way to get to a part of Mahan Drive which doesn’t take me to ANY destinations I need to reach except Academy Sports, Costco, and Kraft Nissan? When this was pointed out to the “we’re smarter than you” folks from Blueprint, they looked back at me with a BLANK STARE. Do they even KNOW where these roads are going? One of them asked, “Where is Roberts Road?” CAN YOU BELIEVE IT????????

    I wonder if any of the people involved in “planning” this road to nowhere live in Killearn? Why didn’t I hear any of them admit this last night? They had around 15 engineers and employees there. NONE of them said a word about living in or near this neighborhood nor did I hear one person from Blueprint say, “We really need to look at this.” All I heard was how they are willing to come to neighborhood association meetings to “explain” (“sell” would be my word) their plan to the community and “listen” (they’re version of listening that is, which apparently does not include hearing what is being said).

    We’ve got a long, long road ahead on this one, and it looks like another uphill battle. I am so TIRED of fighting with people who are supposed to be looking out for and protecting my and my neighbors’ interests

    Reply
  6. Snidely Whiplash   March 12, 2019 at 8:42 am

    Killearn residents are mad as #ell.
    And begining to see they brought this stink on themselves by years of voting for the Democrat party candidates.
    What this all boils down to is money in the form of campiagn contributions though not your years of loyal leftist Democratic voting by you Killearn residents. As you now are beginning to comprehend your record of Democrat Party support means nothing as far as stopping the train AKA NorthEastGateway.
    Here’s what you need to understand:
    Locals who stand to benifit from the Gateway project are insiders like J T Burnett and others.
    Why?
    Because they will 1) make millions and MUCH more importantly they are ALL good for $10,000.00 minimum campaign contributions to local Democratic candidates.
    Are you beginning to understand why your years of voting Democrat means nothing?
    I hope at least a few of you can understand and see why voting for the conservative candidates in the past would have served your communitty much better.

    Reply
  7. John   March 12, 2019 at 8:44 am

    Just an observation; I recall that this road connection was discussed and in the planning when Blairstone Road was being planned and approved; the idea was to enable people from Killearn Lakes to have a meandering roadway through Welaunee and down to Centerville which becomes Blairstone, thus giving them another through-way to Apalachee Parkway and beyond. It didn’t get much buzz back then so it looks to me like the designers just stayed with what they had on the table.

    Reply
  8. Paul   March 12, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Snidely, very disappointed in you. You failed to make this all Rockey Hanna’s fault.

    Reply
  9. Lee   March 12, 2019 at 11:05 am

    If you think this meeting was for your input you’re sorely mistaken. This is their way of giving you time to vent. They will have more sessions like so that you let off steam and then they will do what they want. If you want to be heard you need to organize your city and county Representatives.

    Reply
  10. Phil   March 12, 2019 at 11:38 am

    The way to win this battle is to attack it on the technical merits or lack thereof. Is the project consistent with the local comp plan? Yes.

    Is it consistent with the local long range transportation plan? yes somewhat.

    But you need to look at what the long range plan was based on; the model used had a 2007 base year. The modeling is suspect because in the LRTP the regional model was not updated to include all of the 2010 census data. What we need is the regional model be updated with population data, auto ownership data, dwelling unit type, landuse and zoning, etc. run the new model on the region and see how the trips are distributed. Do it with the new road and without. I bet you will see that the new road will only attract people to the Thomasville road corridor and not help people going to work. We also need to model the interchange, with it and without. A new interchange is supposed to be part of the project but i doubt it will pass the FHWA justification requirements.

    I think if you model the widening of Miccosukee or Centerville Rds to four lanes you will see a better and more appropriate distribution of traffic. And there should be a cost comparison: Welaunee Blvd and its extension, and the new interchange will cost easily $100M to $150M. How much to add turn lanes, lighting, sidewalks, bike lanes and widen either Miccosukee or Centerville? $3-5 M a mile plus some right of way.

    Rather than creating more urban sprawl with new roads, we should use city and county resources on improving the existing network.

    Or you can always go to court and seek an injunction.

    Reply
    • Snidely Whiplash   March 12, 2019 at 1:27 pm

      Good words Phil.
      But thats not what our elected officials respond to.
      Please review my comments above regarding the reliable $10,000.00 Democratic Candidates contributions and how they get what they want.
      Honestly its best not to over think it or stress out over it. Just be aware if you or your group of like minded citizens can not pay them off then you are just wasting your own time.

      Reply
  11. KeepKillearntheWayItIs   March 12, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    This is about BluePrint getting they “benjamins”. None of these people give 2 shits about Killearn Estates, or residents in Canopy for that matter; it’s a means to a very destructive albeit profitable end for THEM; fast, furious, fallout that pays the most

    Reply
  12. Patrick Tully   March 12, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    Why would extra traffic go through Killearn to get to the northeastern gateway when it’s built, but not have gone down Centerville Rd now? The concerns seem unfounded.

    Reply
    • Staff   March 12, 2019 at 8:38 pm

      This is a good point. But why are planners saying the new road will relieve traffic congestion on Thomasville Road? Need more answers.

      Reply
  13. kathy   March 13, 2019 at 6:29 am

    I still think widening Bradfordville is the answer, not only does it need to be wider but it also leads to the other side of town. It will take you to Centerville, Mahan etc.

    Reply
  14. DavidB   March 14, 2019 at 8:10 am

    Remember Bannerman & Bull Headley. Killearn Estates is doomed.

    You’ll never make a left off Olsen toward Thomasville again.

    Reply

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