I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Friday, January 26, 2018

"Let Them Eat Cake!"

I never said NO to any proposal to help alleviate traffic in Beulah and I have been a DIEHARD NFCU supporter--but the rush to build an overpass on 9-Mile road is ALIENATING many District 1 Residents......

It is understandably disappointing for NFCU to have been denied the back exit out of their campus by Federal Bureaucrats.  I’m as disappointed as they are because I hate it for their employees that wait 30 minutes to leave in the afternoons, and I hate it for Beulah residents like me that get stuck in tremendous traffic multiple times daily due to all the NFCU traffic coming down 9-mile road trying to get on and off the interstate at exit 5.  

Traffic is a nightmare and nobody adequately prepared our infrastructure for this prior to permitting all this growth.  We all know this but meanwhile we can’t refuse to accept the situation we are facing right now.  So yes, the back exit was important.  It was prudent.  Most importantly—this would have pulled a significant amount of traffic north and away from 9-mile road and exit 5—which would have been good for everybody.  The back exit was the most common-sense, economical fix had it been accomplished…. but it was not accomplished. 

So YES-- everyone now knows that despite a 2-year effort by NFCU, the county, the Governor, the State legislative delegation, our congressman, our senators, and others in tremendously high positions of power—federal bureaucrats have won-the deep state wins; they said, emphatically, NO to the back exit out of 9-mile road through the welcome center and that is the final word. 

Suddenly, however, in the vacuum created by this tremendous rejection, a new plan is rapidly forming to address ostensibly the same issue—getting NFCU employees out of their campus in less than 30 minutes.  This new initiative, at a very high cost, is the $70 Million overpass above 9-Mile road at Navy Federal Way.  This project will be expensive and will take 4-6 years to complete—if the stars align, funding is made readily available, and all the construction goes without a hitch whatsoever.  (A similar project at Hurlburt Field took 15 years from start to finish)

There was a strong, almost aggressive push to add this item to our last BCC meeting on January 18th, but I pulled it from the agenda because I wanted more time to vet the project.  I wanted to hold a town hall meeting or two with nearby constituents (the ones that are at their wits end with the construction and traffic on 9-mile road already, the ones that must endure another 5 years of construction and congestion on 9-mile road), I wanted more time to contact and discuss this initiative with other nearby developers that were/are unaware of this project and its potential impacts on their properties.  Most importantly I intended to have an independent traffic engineering analysis conducted on what is proposed here.  

I’m concerned about a 25’ high overpass towering over the back yards of $500,000.00 houses in Nature Trail.  I’m concerned about access limitations to 9-Mile road this project might foist on 3 other nearby developments.  I’m concerned about all of Beulah being shoe-horned into one onramp at

 exit 5 along with all the NFCU traffic. I’m deeply concerned about the cost and viability of this project on several levels -but I didn’t say no—

And I’m not saying no—I’m simply saying I want 60-90 days to vet the project before it is unveiled to my constituents in my district where I live who will not be happy.  All I asked for was a little more time.  What I got in return was powerful officials and county staff walking the halls of the BCC offices selling this idea to my counterparts-polling them one by one in back to back meetings in rapid fire succession, then next a series of big meetings in Tallahassee about this project with members of our legislative delegation Wednesday of this week(that I neither knew about nor was invited to) and now, to my complete and utter surprise, another commissioner adding this issue in my district to the agenda for action at next week’s BCC meeting!

Up to this point, the board has been congenial, and we have shown deference to one another particularly with respect to hot-button issues like this in each other’s district.  Apparently, and regrettably, it looks like this previously accepted courtesy is now being abandoned.  Apparently, we are now going to be bringing impactful items to other members’ districts regardless of what the affected commissioner thinks—if requested by the right constituencies.  I lament this change that I hope does not fracture this board or take root. 

I think the commissioner closest to the people and representing the district affected should be shown deference and be allowed at least the time necessary or the time requested to fully investigate an issue before it is dropped on anagenda over the objection of he and his constituents. 

Looks like we won’t be operating that way anymore though….

My constituents are not happy, but apparently, the message coming from the powerful officials steamrolling me and rushing this project through over my request for a slight delay (and over the objections of my constituents) is:

“Let them eat cake!”  “Let Them All Eat Cake!”


Anonymous said...

I don't understand the rush. I want alternatives to be explored. Why is navy fed in such a hurry to go behind your back on this? When a rush I happens, I think something is being hidden. I bought in nature trail almost in its beginning. I don't want this over/underpass at all. Why can't A road go. Behind OLF 8 to the new interchange to be built? What's the rush behind our elected officials back? Why is a. Mayoral candidate involved? Why?

Anonymous said...

Well while you are at it perhaps the Beach Congestion management plan needs to be out in the open more also. I propose you add that to the agenda also. If we are going to Brawl then let's Brawl. Don't talk in code. Five Districts here not two beach fronts.

Jeff Bergosh said...

Anonymous--I, too, am perplexed about the rush being put on this. I never said "NO!" I said I wanted time! I want to work with NFCU and the community together to find the very best solution to this issue together. This is bizarre though--and I don't like it when my inbox is getting slammed with angry constituents that feel like they are being blindsided, I'd be torqued if I was in their shoes too!! They are ticked off about this! I knew this plan, if steamrolled out in this rushed, sloppy, and choppy fashion like it has been uveiled--would result in this sort of chaos and a black-eye in the PR department for NFCU. I only hope they (NFCU, Staff, and the other Commissioners that are driving this initiative in my district) will step back from the brink, hit the reset button, listen to the residents of District 1, and pull this back. If they do this-- we can all work together on the best solution that works for all the residents and Navy Federal and nobody will be steamrolled and blindsided. (And yes, the beach traffic management was added to the agenda for discussion this week as---I added it when I saw that my request for time for the NFCU overpass was completely, totally, and utterly disregarded by District 4.....

Anonymous said...

I hate to be disrespectful ...but don't let Grover shove something down our throats like he did the traffic circles on his way out..and maybe this. Table it if necessary and rescind the circles and tunnels. Selfish to tie the hands on the way out. I don't care who he is or how long his family has been in politics. Let him eat crow.

Anonymous said...

The "fly over" is not the answer. There will still be too much traffic on 9 mile rd. What we need is a "back door" to reduce traffic on 9 mile rd.

Al Witt said...

KUDOS: I agree: "The "fly over" is not the answer. There will still be too much traffic on 9 mile rd. What we need is a "back door" to reduce traffic on 9 mile rd."

And NFCU: I call your bluff!!! You have WAY too much invested to do anything else! Your stuck here just like us!!!!!

"Speaking on behalf of Navy Federal Credit Union at the Commission meeting, Kara Cardona the Vice-President of Greater Pensacola Operations read from a prepared statement which said, in part, "We love Pensacola and we appreciate the great support we receive from this community, which is a big part of why we have decided to expand from 3,000 to 10,000. Howevrer, if the traffic flow problem is not addressed quickly, we really do not want to be in a position where we have to reevaluate our growth in this community."