Only first responders, public works can use Lakeside Drive gate, Jacksonville Beach decides

City leaders vote to close gate in Jacksonville Beach

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — The Lakeside Drive gate at the center of a neighborhood controversy in Jacksonville Beach will be closed for good to everyday traffic after a city council decision on Monday night.

The city passed a resolution declaring "valid public purposes for an electronically operated gate to be installed and remain permanently closed with the exception for emergency and public works purposes."

"They're therefore going to deny access to a Jacksonville access," said Lajuan Kazmierczak, a Jacksonville Beach neighbor.

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Neighbors wore colors depending on which side of the gate debate they stood on.

Those in green wanted the gate left open for good and were disappointed in the night's outcome.

They fear closing the gate permanently will create longer commutes, extend their travel times to the emergency room and slow down first responders.

"Seconds, minutes, take time that could save lives," said Kazmierczak.

Those in favor of closing it for good say they're tired of traffic patterns flowing through their streets.

"Traffic flow is a main concern," said a neighbor in favor of closing the gate, Dixie Smith.

Mayor Charlie Latham voted in favor of the resolution and explained why he believes it's a solution that works best for everyone.

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"So, what we're doing is implementing some kind of electronic means to open the gate so that when first responders come in, they'll still be able to be able to come in a quick period of time," said Latham.

In the meantime, the gate will remain open while the nearby Kings Road bridge is under construction.

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