The Gandy Connector is a concept for a 1.6 mile elevated toll road over the existing Gandy Blvd to connect the Selmon Expressway to the Gandy Bridge. It is part of the MPO’s Long Range Needs Plan, but is not funded.
In response to public concerns, the MPO’s Policy Committee has been debating whether to remove the Connector from the MPO’s Plan. The Committee previously was briefed on the Connector’s impact on hurricane evacuation and future traffic.
In August and September, a public opinion survey was developed to ask questions and learn about preferences regarding a potential Gandy Connector. In the past, many of the options to accommodate anticipated traffic growth in the Gandy area have been unpopular with area residents and business owners.
A survey flyer, which included an artist’s rendering of the proposed overhead road, posed the question: “Does this look like a good idea?” Approximately 9,300 property owners within one mile of the Gandy Connector project received the flyer. Citizens could text their answers to a local phone number, take the survey posted on the MPO’s web site, or telephone their responses directly to the MPO.
The MPO tallied almost 900 survey responses, with 54 percent saying “yes” to the idea of the elevated toll road and 46 percent indicating “no.” Half of the responses came from the text-based survey and the rest came from the web and telephone.
After the initial question, the survey prompted people to answer five follow-up questions. Of the total surveyed, half thought traffic conditions along Gandy Boulevard were failing. When results are separated, those supporting the connector gave it failing grades and those not supporting the connector thought traffic was not a problem. Most of the people who opposed the connector said they want no changes “to roads in the Gandy area.”
As for the best way to handle traffic, most respondents preferred an elevated toll road rather than widening Gandy, using nearby roads, or adding a parallel bypass road. Most of the people who opposed the connector said they want no change to Gandy Boulevard.
Full results of the survey and other information related to the Connector are posted to the MPO’s web site. The Policy Committee took no action to take the Gandy Connector out of the Plan, so it remains as an unfunded long-range project.
For more information, contact Lisa Silva at firstname.lastname@example.org.