“Gov. Bentley: Link Beach Express to Interstate 65”
by George Talbot
July 17, 2013
pages 1A & 11A
“Mayor Demands Traffic Fix”
by Marc D. Anderson
July 17, 2013
One of the best things about living on the Alabama Gulf Coast is getting to go to the beach. We’ve spent a lot of time out at Orange Beach the last two summers and it’s been wonderful. If there’s a downside, it’s definitely the traffic on Alabama 59 – the main route into Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. During the summer season, it can be a parking lot. In addition to 59, drivers can take the Gulf Beach Express, which is a toll road that charges $3.50 per trip.
Tony Kennon is the mayor of Orange Beach and he’s been lobbying for a third route to the beach. He’s been trying to pressure Governor Robert Bentley by posting two roadside signs reading “TRAFFIC NIGHTMARE? Please call Montgomery; Let the Governor Know! 334-242-2000.” Bentley recently spoke on the Gulf Coast and joked that traffic signs at the beach might read “COMPLAINTS? Call Mayor Tony Kennon 251-981-6979.” Bentley – who is up for reelection in 2014 – also voiced support for another beach road.
The route is needed, but the devil is in the details. The possibility of a 3rd bridge leading to Wolf Bay has promise, but I would like to know more about it. Kennon has long advocated another possibility – creating an elevated road called The Cross Island Parkway leading from the Beach Express through Gulf State Park and ending at the beach. In my humble opinion, this is a horrible idea. Gulf State Park is one of the jewels in the area, a beautiful, natural escape from the development in the area. An elevated expressway would ruin its ambiance.
Growth can be great, but we have to be thoughtful about it. Otherwise, we might find that…
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot – Joni Mitchell, “Big Yellow Taxi”