Recently, in my opinion, the Chronicle has had a full court press painting the residents of Pine Ridge as alarmist regarding the ending of the Parkway at County Road 486.
Some calling Sound Off feel we are elitists or selfish regarding the parkway’s temporary destination. Mr. Mulligan has been gazing into his crystal ball and determine the Pine Ridge residents have nothing to worry about because parkway traffic will not come down Pine Ridge Boulevard.
Some history on Pine Ridge:
It was started when C.R. 486 was a two-lane roadway; the only development was the beginning of Citrus Hills. Actually C.R. 486 was a dirt road in the ’70s. Pine Ridge Boulevard was built as a country road connecting the various sections of the development. The Boulevard does not meet modern standards as a primary connector roadway.
Currently, the roadway experiences fairly heavy traffic as connector between C.R. 486 and County Road 491 for those heading north on State Road 200. These include west side folks going to work in Ocala or shopping or other activities. I spent eight years working in Ocala and found S.R. 200 to be the shortest way to Ocala from Beverly Hills and I would venture even from Crystal River.
The original parkway design of 25 years ago or so had only one exit in the county at Cardinal Lane. Eventually, politics as they are, added an exit at 495 which was a good addition. C.R. 486 was not in the plan.
Pine Ridge residents are concerned about three things: property value (your home is most likely your biggest investment), safety, and quality of life. Pine Ridge is a residential and equestrian community. If other property owners were faced with the possible risks as Pine Ridge folks are, I would venture to say they also would be concerned for their neighborhood.
The exit most likely will end at C.R. 486 and traffic will increase on the Boulevard. Pine Ridge Boulevard has two traffic lights, while heading down to C.R. 491 and north through Beverly Hills there are seven. From my experience, people are not big at sitting at stop lights and will soon learn how much quicker the Boulevard is. The Boulevard needs serious upgrades; there are two dangerous intersections that need signals if it is to end up as a collector for the parkway.
Hopefully the county will be proactive to the Pine Ridge concerns. Sound planning is needed not crystal ball gazing.
Roger B. Krieger