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No left turn? No one seems to care

(Week of June 23, 2011)

Regardless of whether the City of Vero Beach decides to keep the “no left turn” sign posted at Live Oak Drive and Highway A1A, it’s not making much difference to drivers cutting through Central Beach.

Based upon a review of traffic from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Live Oak Road is a popular alternate route even in the middle of June, with about 40 vehicles per hour using it to circumvent the intersection of Beachland Boulevard and A1A.

Nearly two-thirds of the cars and trucks driving east on Live Oak Road – a full 26 out of 42 observed over the two hours – ignored the sign and turned left to go north on A1A. A total of 81 vehicles got onto or off of Live Oak Road in that two-hour period.

Of the 16 drivers who made legal right turns from Live Oak Road, six of those vehicles then found alternate routes back to northbound A1A using other side streets in Central Beach.

At a recent City Council meeting, John’s Island residents were accused by Live Oak Residents of taking advantage of their residential street as a cut-through from A1A to Indian River Drive East and ultimately to Beachland Boulevard.

But the vast majority of cars and trucks monitored by Vero Beach 32963 on Friday afternoon – admittedly when many John’s Island residents are away for the summer -- were not the luxury vehicles one would associate with the barrier island’s oldest club community.

Hondas and Toyotas outnumbered the BMWs and Jaguars, and commercial vehicles, pickup trucks hauling pool service and lawn equipment, and even United Parcel Service and a GoLine bus all appeared to be using Live Oak Road as a cut through.

Making the illegal left turn onto A1A carries a potential $143 fine if the driver happens to have the bad luck of getting caught and ticketed. The turn would constitute a moving violation and could carry with it three to four points on the driver’s license.

Vero Beach Police Department Spokesman Officer John Morrison declined comment as to whether the signs would stay or go, or whether patrol officers would step up enforcement of the “no left turn” sign and the “no thru traffic” sign erected two weeks ago by the Vero Public Works Department’s Traffic Division.

“This is an issue that is being handled by City Hall.  Your best and most updated information will be available from Mr. (Monte) Falls,” he said.