Photo courtesy of the VSPC Convention Visitor Bureau.
In speaking with residents opposed to the proposed huge developments, it seems that opposition centers on quality of life. The city continues to tell the press/media and residents how they see things… which we find to be somewhat magical or mythical thinking.
Story #1 –
High Traffic Volume Will Not Be a Problem
Adding over 12,000 cars a day will not be a problem and will not decrease quality of life, we have been told.
This is simply not true based on scientific research, as well as our own intuitive senses.
Seminal research on how traffic affects residents by Donald Appleyard in the 1970s, found the volume of traffic on a street affects quality of life for residents in profound and unexpected ways.
- For example, the amount of social contact people had with their neighbors was curtailed for those who lived on high traffic streets compared with those living on quieter streets.
- People even defined their “home area” much more narrowly if they lived on a busy road. (quote from http://usa.streetsblog.org/2016/08/16/study-high-traffic-arterial-roads-reduce-quality-of-life-even-blocks-away/.)
Below is a graphic from Donald Appleyard showing how many interactions (Shown by the lines) change with traffic volume
- And, a new study done recently, shows that living near, but not on, a wide, high-traffic arterial can also reduce residential satisfaction.
For more on this study, see the article on StreetsBlog USA => High-Traffic Arterial Roads Reduce Quality of Life, Even Blocks Away
People Want Walkable Places to Live
The research that today says that what people living in the U.S. want is Walkable Neighborhoods. Walkable neighborhoods is the most requested characteristic of any, when people of any age are looking for new housing. (Quote from: We Want More Walkable Neighborhoods – But Can Our Communities Deliver?)
For insight into what makes a city walkable and where Madeira Beach with a “Walkability Score = 53” fits, click on this link= > Walk Score .
We like the quote on the Walkable Communities, Inc website: “Walkable communities are more liveable communities and lead to whole, happy, healthy lives for the people who live in them.” (See quote at: Walkable.org)
High traffic areas and huge buildings with little green space are NOT what residents or visitors want.
Walkable neighborhoods – and Madeira Beach is a residential community with tourism – are neighborhoods where there is mixed use:
- services… not huge hotels.
The resort area, to be most appealing to visitor, should have a comfortable, relaxed safe – not highly urbanized with intense traffic – feel.
(For more information on what residents want, see: Americans Want Walkable Neighborhoods.)
Story #2 –
The Future Taxes Will Be Worth it. Hmmm…
Someone has said that these developments would benefit residents by increasing the tax revenues. Residents have not been persuaded by this “story”. Under English law, this could be considered ‘misrepresentation’ because this assertion is not borne out by calculations. We think that this is wishful thinking at best.
The Return on Investment Will NOT Be Worth It
For a good explanation of what the REAL story on return-on-investment for a city is, view this story – which includes a short video: RETURN ON INVESTMENT REALITIES
And, keep in mind that all those tax dollars from Bed Tax can only be used for tourism promotion, not electric bills or new fixtures for city bathrooms.
Strong Towns, a non-profit supporting reasonable developments, says,” Most American cities find themselves caught in the Growth Ponzi Scheme. We experience a modest, short-term illusion of wealth in exchange for enormous, long-term liabilities.” (Click on the underlined statement above to read more or see source of quote.)
We suggest that these developments would not only saddle us with a traffic nightmare, but a long term liability, and that the taxes we must pay to enable them will never come back to the city.
Story #3 –
Downtown Madeira Beach Must Be Replaced
Well, this is a matter of opinion.
Obviously, owners have not invested in these properties for many years.
But, when we asked people in the area which are cities/towns they most liked to visit, they said:
- Tarpon Springs and
- Madeira Beach.
Interestingly, Clearwater Beach, with its urban center styling, now, was not mentioned.
Maybe city officials and employees should consider what residents and visitors want…
Not what developers want!