Residents of The Villages are unhappy about a development that will turn the pasture land along County Road 466 into a huge commercial property. The development, known as Hammock Oaks, will bring more traffic to County Road 466 and surrounding roads. Could this spike in traffic be a breaking point for Villagers fed up with congestion in their city?
The Development in Question
The 162.4-acre housing development is expected to be built-out in 2025. There will be senior citizen housing, commercial development, as well as a medical park. It is predicted that there will be 15 exits and entrances per minute at the development, according to materials by the developer of Hammock Oaks, a figure that suggests high traffic.
The Chula Vista Avenue Problem
Some Villagers believe that nearby Chula Vista Avenue could become an even bigger safety hazard once the planned development is complete. Chula Vista Avenue is already a problem for Villagers, according to Villages News, as it used as a cut-through route for speeders who want to get to their destination quickly, despite being a residential road with a posted speed limit of 25 mph.
“The issue is very clearly one of vastly increased traffic on Chula Vista Avenue,” Planning and Zoning Board member Peter Chiasson said to Villages News. “It’s a nightmare now.”
Some residents think that the new development will only exacerbate this unsafe and invasive cut-through traffic, putting Villagers who live on Chula Vista Avenue at risk of accidents and sound pollution. And the problem could spread to Cherry Lake Road, Rolling Acres Road, and other nearby roads that are already straining from traffic.
The idea of this is alarming for some Villagers. “No one looked at the big picture, only their bank accounts. Thanks for now making this The Friendliest Hometown with traffic jams,” one Villager commented on the article by Villages News.
How Can Villagers Stay Safe If Traffic Worsens?
If traffic will only continue to get worse in The Villages, how can our city’s residents stay safe on these congested roads?
Be Wary of Aggressive Drivers
Traffic jams test the patience of even the calmest drivers, but some motorist choose to engage in behaviors, like aggressive driving and road rage, which put the lives of others at risk. If you see someone driving aggressively, don’t engage, recommends the American Automobile Association Foundation.
Aggressive driving can take the form of tailgating, dangerously cutting other drivers off, and obscene gesturing. If you come across an aggressive driver, steer clear of them and avoid eye contact.
Leave Space Between Cars
It can be difficult to leave space between your car and the vehicle in front of you in bumper-to-bumper traffic. However, being patient and maintaining a gap between you and the car ahead of you lowers your risk of getting into a rear end collision.
Interestingly, this precautionary behavior can also reduces your need to brake suddenly, which can help to alleviate the traffic jam for those behind you, according to Berthold K. P. Horn, a computer scientist at MIT who developed an algorithm for smoother traffic flow.
The lull of stop and go traffic can make even the safest drivers feel complacent about fiddling with the radio and having a snack. However, a traffic jam is no excuse for distracted driving, and in fact, it could make traffic jams worse. A study titled “Impact of Distracted Driving on Safety and Traffic Flow” revealed that those engaged in distracted driving — such as eating, drinking, texting, grooming, or adjusting the radio — worsened traffic congestion. And these findings applied to drivers of all ages.
“No significant differences were detected between age groups, suggesting that all drivers, regardless of age, may drive in a manner that impacts safety and traffic flow negatively when distracted,” explained the study.
When Accidents Happen
The CR466 development is a few years off from being built, but traffic — and the car accidents associated with them — is already a major problem in The Villages. Have you or someone you love been hurt recently in a car accident caused by the carelessness of another driver? If so, we may be able to help.
Read more to learn how our car accident attorneys can guide you through the stressful aftermath of a serious car crash. If you are ready to pursue a claim, fill out our free, no-risk case evaluation form today.