Which way will it go?
Editor’s note: Port Aransas voters will go to the polls May 14 to decide whether to approve a proposed $6.4 million bond package to pay for extensive road improvements along nearly two miles of 11th Street, from Avenue G to Beach Access Road 1A. In this story, 11th Street area residents and merchants sound off on the issue.
Which way to go on 11th Street?
The answer depends upon whom you ask.
Charles Rhea, owner of Surfside RV and Resort, in the 1800 block of 11th Street, said he’ll vote in favor of the bond issue.
But Rhea said he wants the roadwork done fast, and he’s hoping that the city won’t raise the speed limit after the thoroughfare becomes more drivable. The speed limit is 30 mph.
City staff and the city council have agreed that, if the bond passes, the bumpy twolane road would be expanded to include a center turn lane, and the full length of 11th would get a brand-new base and pavement.
Also part of the deal would be construction of a sidewalk down one side of the road and a concrete bike path down the other side. Underground drainage and new gas lines would be installed throughout the length of the street.
A new water main also likely would be installed along the street if the roadwork takes place, but the water line work would be funded separately from the bond.
But guest E.J. Jansen said he only halfway supports the proposal.
Jansen, who walks along the side of 11th Street most every day to get to the beach, said he likes the idea of a sidewalk.
But he doesn’t care for the proposal to widen the road.
“ They need to keep the speed down on this thing instead of making it so you can go faster,” said Jansen, who travels full-time in his RV and isn’t registered to vote in Port Aransas.
Barbie Barr, who lives in the 1200 block of South 11th Street, said she, too, is con- cerned that a three- lane road might encourage speeding, but she said she’d vote for the bond anyway because of the sidewalk and bike path that are part of the package.
Bill Mus- sett, who lives on Palimino Drive, just of f 1 1 Street, said he will cast his ballot in favor of the bond. He voiced no objection to the idea of a widened road.
“It’s very congested as it is, and it’s dangerous for people walking and on bicycles,” Mussett said. “It’s rough, and it needs to be redone, and if you’re going to do it, do it right.”
It’s time for Port Aransas voters to help out the folks who live in the 11th Street area, Mussett said.
“We’ve seen so many (improvements) in other parts of this town, and we’ve been waiting for so many years for 11th Street to get work,” he said.
“To put a three-lane in, it’s not needed,” Shanklin said. “They’re not spending money where it’s needed.”
Traffic isn’t heavy on the 11th Street except for during the summer months, and taxes already are high, Shanklin reasoned.
The city’s tax rate is 33.2023 cents per $100 valuation. If the bond issue passes, it will mean a tax increase of 4.137 cents, which would add about $82.52 to the average homeowner’s tax bill, according to the city’s finance department.
The average market value of a Port Aransas home, with a homestead exemption, is $199,471, according to city hall.
Stephanie Sawyer, who lives on Whispering Sands, one block off 11th Street, said she’s undecided on the bond issue but probably will vote for it.
For now, she routinely avoids dr iv ing on 11th because it’s so bumpy and congested.
The proposed work on 11th Street would be a benefit to the many condominiums, hotels and RV parks throughout the length of the road, but it also would be good for residents, said Jim Triplett, managing director of CCMS Resorts, which manages a number of condominiums, including some on or near 11th Street.
Triplett, who said he was speaking for himself and not for CCMS, said he supports passage of the bond issue.
“ I t ’ s a main artery in this city,” Triplett said. “ I m - prove- ments in infrastructure are going to make life better for residents of the island and also make stays for vacationers better. It’s a winwin for everyone.”