Contact Us | Advertise With Us | Editions | Links 

Tampa Bay Online Edition

Last Updated: Aug 16th, 2007 - 19:28:08 

Front Page 
 
 Top Stories
 Features and Series
 Finding Florida
 Community In Focus
 Links Mentioned
 In Your Words
 
 News & Community
 Community News
 Business
 Where In South Hillsborough?
 Observing The Web
 In Uniform
 Obituaries
 Community In Retrospect
 
 Commentary
 
 Nation and World
 
 Columnists
 Fishtales
 Positive Talk
 Saturation Point
 View From the Road
 Wandering Florida
 Savvy Senior




Observer Classifieds

Archives / Search 2003

Photo Gallery

Send a Letter to the Editor

Send a Press Release

Staff Directory
 

Wandering Florida

Wandering Florida - ‘Can’t Get There From Here’
By Joe Murphy
Feb 15, 2007, 08:44

Email this article
 Printer friendly page
The Florida Dream is full of sunsets, warm weather, and time spent relaxing and enjoying the pleasures of paradise. I must have missed the section of the brochure that mentions being stuck in traffic for hours trying to travel a few miles. Ahh….another chapter in the transition from Florida Dream to Florida Nightmare.

I’m not a rocket scientist, nor even a scientist of any variety for that matter. With that said even I understand the connection between increased development and more traffic. Why does it seem to be so complicated for those in elected positions to make those connections? We hear, particularly around election time, commitments from our soon to be Commissioners or Legislators that they will do something about transportation. We hear calls for more funding, more research, and more planning. What we don’t hear are calls for fewer people.

What seems to get lost in the process these days that passes for growth management in Florida is the concept that existing citizens, property owners, business owners, and taxpayers have rights. We have the right to safe roads that are not constantly locked in gridlock. We have the right to commutes that are not constantly lengthened due to more development. If only we had a couple of those high dollar consultants and lawyers that the developers have, we might get some attention from elected officials.

I have lived in the greater Tampa Bay area all my life and am constantly amazed at how bad the transportation situation in our region is becoming. Traveling from north to south or east to west across the Tampa Bay region is almost a full day’s trek (perhaps I exaggerate a bit…but not by much). This impacts quality of life, commerce, and public safety. We seem to just turn up the car radio and hunker down for a longer commute. We don’t have to, nor do we have to settle for the mess we find ourselves in.

This region’s transportation nightmare did not happen in a vacuum. A series of decisions by local, regional, and state level elected officials led to the crisis we find ourselves in today. Every time you read an article in the paper about new development being permitted picture more cars on the road, and more cars between you and your destination.

It is tempting to spend some time skewering the many, many bad decisions that have led us to where we are today (and it is something I profoundly enjoy doing) but ultimately it does not lead us to solutions. With that said, our elected and appointed leaders seem chronically unable to learn from their mistakes and that is unacceptable.

I’m not suggesting transportation planning is easy. I’m suggesting that those who we elect need to think more critically about the impacts of the decisions they make on all of us and our water, schools, roads, parks, and services. Even if we don’t contribute to their campaigns, or hire high priced consultants or lawyers…..we should matter in the process.

We do matter, and the best part is we have the one thing that provides them with the ability to be an elected official….we have the vote.

Our region would be an entirely different place if every one of us started using our incredible power as citizens just one hour a week. Just one hour each week write a letter, make a phone call, send an email, whatever you can do about an issue that concerns you. Let your County Commission know you pay attention. I propose to you that if we started a campaign for that sort of action, everyone spending that one hour a week being part of the process, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

If nothing else maybe we could get to work on time and with a smile.
You can contact Joe Murphy regarding his “Wandering Florida” columns by emailing him at wildcritters99@aol.com




© Copyright 2007 by The Observer News Publications and M&M Printing Company, Inc.

Top of Page

Wandering Florida
Latest Headlines
‘Gov. Climate’ Moves Florida Forward in Efforts to Address Climate Change
“Trouble Down South – The River of Grass has a Long Road to Recovery”
Exciting developments with the Gulf Restoration Network (GRN)