The County Commission wants to extend Ridge Road to the Suncoast Parkway and beyond. The rationale is that we need an additional route for hurricane evacuations. While additional ways to get out of the way of a hurricane are important, the Ridge Road extension would simply dump all of that evacuation traffic on the Suncoast Parkway, joining all the other traffic using the Parkway to evacuate.
I believe we need to find a better alternative. The proposed Ridge Road extension would run right through the middle of the Seranova Tract. This 6,533 acre conservation area is home to a number of different wildlife species and is spotted with numerous wetlands. Building a road, and the inevitable development that would follow, would endanger this important recharge area for our drinking water. We need to come up with alternative solutions to handle evacuations, solutions that don’t destroy one of the few natural areas on the west side of Pasco County. Expanding both SR 54 and SR52 to carry more traffic east all the way to I-75 and beyond is a much better solution.