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owners do worry that the specific placements might disrupt their operations. Dave Pritchard of Pritchard's Pianos and Organs, located on Bee Ridge just east of 41, wrote that the pro- posed island outside his store would make it "impossible" for eastbound drivers to safely enter his parking lot. "The eastbound driver will be deprived of a turning lane into my parking lot," Pritchard wrote. "Many of my customers are retired and over the age of 70 and I know that their cars would be exposed to being rear ended." Mark Cooper of Cooper Enterprises, mean- while, wrote that one of the islands would impede access to his two parking spots, located just east of Pritchard's. Resident Richard Walmsley wrote that the placement of one island would force him to perform a U-turn to pull into his home. Architect John Bryant, who lives in the area, called the project "worthwhile" because "Bee Ridge is a difficult and at times dan- gerous road to cross." But he suggested that planners need also to improve the crossing at Shade Avenue and Bee Ridge, which has a high amount of pedestrian traffic coming from nearby Brookside Middle School and the newish burger place S'macks. D e p a r t m e n t o f T r a n s p o r t a t i o n Communications Specialist Robin Stublen tells the News Leader the department is still sorting through all the feedback it has received. Its open comment period concludes on Saturday, and plans for the pedestrian refuge islands will remain on display at the Fruitville Public Library through May 15. % An illustration shows how one island would be situated in the median of a section of Bee Ridge Road. Image courtesy Florida Department of Transportation Sarasota News Leader May 9, 2014 Page 40

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