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Where are those street numbers?
July 14, 2011 - Mel Toadvine
Am I the only person driving down Lee Boulevard looking for a certain location and all I have is the street number? Unless I am blind, it’s one of the most difficult chores on the streets of Lehigh, especially if you want to find a business. But I sort of solved this problem some time ago. Everyone who knows me will tell you I am directionally challenged. That pretty much means I don’t know my right from my left and with all the streets such as SW NW, North, South, East and West, I am usually lost. But I have always had this strange malady. Even when I was younger. I was 18 and driving in New Jersey to find Carlstadt. I was the only person in the car and even though I had a map, it was difficult to read and drive, too. When I got to the Lincoln Tunnel which I was smart enough to know would take me into the busy streets of New York City, a kindly gentleman at the entrance (he could have been taking tolls, I don’t remember) understood my plight and moved those red cones in the street so I could do a turnaround and go in the opposite direction. He gave me very good instructions, but when I got to my destination, a large company for which I was being interviewed for a job, I told them no. I had decided in no way was I going to live in an area where I would get lost every day. My wife will tell you when I am on an Interstate and turn off, I will mostly turn the wrong direction off the ramp. I have decided that if I think I should turn left, then most assuredly, I should turn right. So the street number problem in Lehigh is a serious one, not only for me, but for others who have agreed with me that it is difficult to find a site just by the street number. Now there are some strip centers along Lee Boulevard that do display their numbers on the monument signs, but for the most part, street numbers are difficult to locate for many small businesses. So if I don’t have my GPS with me that particular day, I have to depend on someone else telling me something like this: “Go down Lee Blvd. until you pass such and such, then there is a such and such, and go one more block and you will see the such and such and that is where you turn in.” Forget it, that won’t work, not for me anyway! Those directions go in one ear and out of the other. So I am happy to hear that the new Lehigh Acres Land Use Plan is addressing this particular issue along with others. Many locals in Lehigh have brought up the street number problem during hearings and county planners have been listening. What will eventually come out of this is some type of requirement, I imagine, that would require businesses to list their street number addresses prominently in the same place so they can be easily seen. And they need to be large enough to be seen, especially by those over 40 whose eyes may not be as strong as they once were. Each strip center’s sign should have the number in the same spot on the signs. Besides the county requiring something be done, it is just good business for anyone who has a business along Lee Blvd., or Homestead Road for that matter, to buy some large numbers and tack them up. If I am looking for a certain street number for a restaurant or a pizza shop or another type of business where I need to buy something and I don’t see the street number, I am more than likely not going to do a U-turn and come back. And that can mean lost business for that particular business establishment. So street numbers are important and county planners agree. That is why they are addressing that type of issue in the overall master plan for Lehigh. Also, if street numbers are uniform in a large size and put in the same spots, it can prevent accidents. A lot of cars get rear-ended because they are driving too slowly in the right lane, looking for a street number that is often not there.