Sarasota News Leader

04/11/2014

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Given the improving Florida economy and the extra revenue the Legislature has to work with this year, that still should be doable. If the money is made available, then the clock has to start ticking on an FDOT public rela tions campaign. We like to consider ourselves pretty open minded when we are faced with radical new ideas. When we watched the video those con sultants showed to the Sarasota and Manatee commissioners last year, we had no trouble grasping how a diverging diamond works. What we did find unsettling was the prospect of major crashes resulting from drivers failing to pay attention to what they were doing. The message of that video that has stayed with us the longest is that people have to read the signs; otherwise, they will have no idea how to navigate the diverging diamond. Not only do we live in a world where drivers already are "challenged" by the temptations of their cellphones — regardless of state law — but we also reside in a community with a significant number of senior citizens, some of whom suffer with vision and comprehen sion problems. Regardless of any driver's age, though, education is going to be necessary to convince the average motorist that if people can drive with ease through diverging dia monds in Utah and Missouri, by golly, we can drive through one here. Just as consultants have been creative enough to come up with the idea of the diverging dia mond itself, they need to start figuring out the best ways to get the message out that this con cept can work at I75 and University Parkway. What could possibly be worse than construct ing something to ameliorate traffic problems only to compound them through a steady stream of collisions — and high volumes of vehicles suddenly appearing on side roads to avoid the interchange at all costs? % EVEN THE WORST FEARS CAN BE CONQUERED — IN THE RIGHT SETTING By Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer COMMENTARY Most of us suffer from some kind of fears or phobias. How we deal with them, and occasionally conquer them, is my subject in this "outing." I will admit it upfront: I experience severe acrophobia when I have to be way up high, unprotected in an open conveyance, if I have to look at whatever is below me. Among the times I have suffered this dread have been in open cable cars, on a Ferris wheel and in the elevator of the Eiffel Tower. I cannot look down. I am positive I will get sick and want to jump out just to relieve the agony of vertigo. COMMENTARY OPINION Sarasota News Leader April 11, 2014 Page 85

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