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Vindication Arrives for Car-ban Advocate

Carol B. Cole   December 22, 1996; Page 06C    

DAYTONA BEACH -- Local attorney Doug Daniels endured sharp public attacks earlier this year when he questioned the value of beach driving.    

  But he felt somewhat vindicated last week when the Volusia County Council endorsed a future traffic-free zone along the beach. As head of the Charter Review Commission's beach committee, Daniels in March distributed a report that suggested beach driving repels more tourists than it attracts. While some privately supported his conclusions, others were harshly critical.    

Now, public opinion seems to have shifted, or at least softened. Many who still support beach driving also think it's a good idea to set aside some traffic-free areas.    

On Saturday, Daniels was philosophical about having taken the heat for questioning the tradition of cars on the beach.    

He also was unsurprised by the council's support of a plan that would ban cars from the beach between Seabreeze and International Speedway boulevards. ``It worked out about how I thought it would,'' Daniels said.    

The case against driving in the core area was so strong that the council was bound to reach the position it did, he said. ``It takes awhile for people to get accustomed to the idea,'' Daniels said in explaining the change in attitudes.    

``It was sort of like pointing out that the emperor has no clothes. After awhile, people say, `you're right'. . . It's hard to get over that hump, but as soon as you do, the whole thing caves in.''    

But Daniels said that doesn't mean cars necessarily will -- or even should -- come off the entire beach.    

The core area offers an opportunity for needed economic development, but it also has space that's not available everywhere, he said.    

Whatever happens, public access to the beach must never be compromised, said Daniels. Adequate parking is essential.    

``The real tradition of the area, and the one we ought to protect, is easy access to the beach,'' he said.   

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