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Dear Mayor and City Council:
This petition has been started in an effort to stop the construction of the proposed Sandspur Path in Maitland. Sandspur Road is one of the few remaining traditional, tree-lined streets in a residential neighborhood. The proposed path will require the unnecessary destruction of dozens of beautiful oak trees (update-city officials claim only 5-8 trees will be impacted), street lights, and drainage swales, in addition to the loss of neighborhood aesthetics. Most importantly, however, are the three schools situated along this quiet street and the increase in foot traffic potentially risks the safety of our children and residents.
The path is a proposed 10’ sidewalk (15' clearance after 5' setback) that will run along the north side of Sandspur Road, connecting the new Interstate 4 overpass to Maitland Avenue (update - recent plans show 8 - 10' and no setbacks in some portions). There is a pre-existing sidewalk and separate 3’ bike lane along Sandspur, but since space couldn’t be identified along Maitland Boulevard, they moved the proposed path into our adjacent neighborhood.
Please do not treat our neighborhood like I-4, widening it for the potential onslaught of new traffic—a need that has not even been identified with adequate data surveys. If you build it, they will undoubtedly come; if you leave it alone, our neighborhood will continue to be safe and secure as we know it.
Removal of these oak trees will cause many issues, such as diminution in property values, increased traffic sound, loss of a natural barrier to protect walkers, and potential road flooding. In other words, the end will not justify the means. The path is redundant and a waste of taxpayer money, used to appease people who don’t live in the area at the expense of the residents who actually pay property taxes and whose children safely attend these schools, currently walking down the existing sidewalk to school daily without incident.
The city’s Parks and Recreation Department have argued that brighter, well-lit paths are actually safer and deter crime, but this only applies if you are connecting two viable areas. This path, however, will connect an office/hotel park, on the west side of Interstate 4, to a quiet residential suburb. There are already numerous negative effects of this neighborhood being situated so closely to I-4; adding non-residents strolling through at-will is not a solution the current residents would have agreed upon, which explains why we were not asked in the first place.
Several of the residents have contacted the Parks and Recreation Department, only to be told that the drawings are not complete and could not be viewed until they were ready. We are astonished that the residents were not only NOT asked, but are unable to view the plans for defacing their neighborhood as they know it. Elected officials should listen and abide by the will of the citizens they represent-- not move forward and ask for forgiveness later. If this path is truly still in its infancy and planning stages, it can easily be re-evaluated with the input of the residents it will affect the most, which is a requirement for private developers.
By signing this petition, the residents of Maitland ask that this project please be reconsidered and the money be utilized elsewhere in the city, preferably with our input and consideration.
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