PANAMA CITY BEACH Fla. (WMBB) — Front Beach Road business owners are fighting Panama City Beach’s plan to add medians to the area. They say it’s a safety hazard.
Mack Carter, the owner of “Shuckums Oyster Bar and Restaurant,” was the first to oppose Panama City Beach’s plan to add grass medians on Front Beach Road.
On Thursday, he came to the city council again but this time with support.
Robert Turner owns a few McDonald’s franchises in the area. He said he already sees safety issues near his store on Front Beach Road location near Highway 79. He said medians will create more issues.
“We are concerned with U-turns being possibly a more dangerous solution than left turns because I think people get impatient and impulsive,” Turner said.
Carter said he feels this addition would hurt business and deter people from coming in. He also mentioned the difficulties it would cause for semi-trucks making deliveries to stores.
“We believe that the access of putting medians on the road would interfere with access to these businesses,” Carter said.
Community members say they should finish other projects before starting new ones.
The city’s original plan was to put grass medians down the center of Front Beach Road.
They’re also considering adding a bike and trolley lane.
Panama City Beach Mayor Mark Sheldon said studies show that having medians is actually safer for pedestrians.
“It’s easier for pedestrians to cross if they have a place to go in between lanes of traffic,” Sheldon said.
Sheldon said if people want to go to a business, making a U-turn will not stop them.
He said the city hears what the community is saying and the proposal will remain in the planning stages for now.
“We are going to continue the conversation to see where these median cuts will be if we will have median cuts in the CRA for the future,” Sheldon said.
He said they hope to have a final decision on the project in the coming months.