By Gaige Davila
A redesigning of Laguna Boulevard on South Padre Island is in the works, with an expected finish date to the design by the end of this year or the beginning of next.
Four design options were discussed during a city council workshop on July 15, with the favored design being “Option 4,” where Laguna Boulevard is given 11 to 12 feet wide driving lanes, a 4 feet wide bike lane and 5 to 6 feet wide sidewalks.
Alex Sanchez, Public Works Director for the City of South Padre Island, suggested Option 4, because it would reduce how many palm trees would need to be removed and leave some portions of sidewalks intact.
Fifty-five palm trees on Laguna Boulevard would need to be removed and relocated if “Option 4” is selected. There are over 315 palm trees on Laguna Boulevard, according to a presentation from the City of South Padre Island Public Works.
Council member Eva Jean-Dalton raised concerns from Island residents saying Laguna Boulevard should have wider lanes, the curbs made more handicap-friendly and not including a second sidewalk.
LaVina Meyer, an Island resident, echoed the sentiment.
“I walk every single day, and I have never ever wished that I had a sidewalk on the west side of Laguna (Boulevard),” Meyer said.
Meyer also said not to relocate palm trees similar to the location of Gulf Boulevard’s palm trees, advocating for a repaving of Laguna Boulevard and “leaving as much grass as possible” for adequate water drainage.
Sherri Eddy, another Island resident, also favored “Option 4,” noting the relocated palm trees should be inside the street and not on the corners. Eddy said she was afraid to ride her bike on Laguna Boulevard, saying the street was dangerous and should be made wider and repaved.
“If we’re going to do something, I think we should stick with the east side bike lane, add a few feet, make half of it sidewalk, half of it bike lane, like we did on Gulf (Boulevard),” Eddy said. “That way we’re not getting rid of parking and not getting rid of established palm trees.”
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