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Vero Beach moves forward with $165,000 Twin Pairs traffic study, but makes some changes

NewsVero Beach moves forward with $165,000 Twin Pairs traffic study, but makes some changes

VERO BEACH — The City Council Tuesday approved another Twin Pairs traffic study, but with a few adjustments.

What happened: The council approved the $165,000 study 4-1, with Council member Tracey Zudans in dissent. The study will determine whether the city moves forward with reducing State Road 60’s lanes through downtown.

The council, however, will split the study into two phases, starting with the traffic analysis, which accounts for only about half the cost, City Manager Monte Falls said. If the traffic analysis shows a lane reduction is warranted, the city would continue with the full study, Falls said.

Why: Proponents say a lane reduction at Twin Pairs — the seven-lane stretch of S.R. 60 that splits into two one-way roads between 20th Avenue and Indian River Boulevard — would make the road safer and revitalize downtown through adding more parking and larger bike lanes. Opponents say the change is unnecessary, and that slowing traffic could negatively impact nearby neighborhoods.

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Background: The council in January revived the effort to reduce Twin Pairs to four lanes. The idea has come up severspanl times since the 1990s, even spans recently spans 2021, but never has moved forward.

The council aimed to push a new study before the Florida’s Department of Transportation’s resurfacing of S.R. 60, scheduled to begin its design phase this year, in order to incorporate potential lane reductions in the project.

“I don’t like spending taxpayers’ money unnecessarily, because it is their money, but I think this council has made tough decisions where we have decided to put data to anecdote and gossip,” Mayor John Cotugno said Tuesday.

Opposition: Zudans said she’d prefer a traffic study be implemented later into a downtown master plan to make FDOT take over the cost.

“I think it’s a waste of taxpayer funding to move forward on the study at this point without having the master plan done,” Zudans said Tuesday.

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