11 June 2019 Update – Speed Limits / Enforcement on the Point: APSTA Position Statement – click here to read more

APSTA is currently gathering information from our members, the community, and the Sheriff’s department on the feasibility of adjusting speed limits on Alligator Drive downward slightly to provide an additional level of safety for residents and visitors. With the flow of traffic restricted from the washout to the current Fire Station, the congestion at the public access points and the S curve (boat ramp, public access, limited line of sight), and pedestrians, runners, bicyclers, and golf carts etc… sharing the roadway with cars and trucks, the chances for a regrettable accident increase every year.

Please provide input on this topic by sending your comments to contact@apta-fl.org

11 June 2019 Update / Sent at the request of Commissioner Boldt:

APSTA Position Paper on Speed Limit Reductions / Speeding Enforcement for Alligator Drive / Bald Point Road

Over the past 3 months APSTA has gathered information and had discussions with our members, the community, the Franklin County Road Dept. (Mr. Howard Nabors), and the Franklin County Sheriff’s department (Sheriff Smith / Capt. Coulter) on the feasibility of improving speeding enforcement and adjusting speed limits downward slightly on Alligator Drive/Bald Point Road in areas of congestion.  With the flow of traffic restricted from the washout to the current Fire Station, the congestion at the public access points and the S curve (boat ramp, public access, limited line of sight), and pedestrians, runners, pets, bicyclers, and golf carts etc., sharing the roadway with cars and trucks, chances for a regrettable accident increase every year. Sheriff Smith and Captain Coulter have responded to our requests and been proactive by placing mobile radar speed signage at various locations as they are available and recently increasing enforcement of the current speed limits. We appreciate their efforts.

Unfortunately, we are faced with the practical reality, that like most Sheriff’s departments in small rural counties, ours struggles with limited personnel resources and serious budget restraints. The Sheriff’s department is spread thinly over a broad area and cannot reasonably be expected to provide full time traffic enforcement to each of our communities, at all times.

APSTA’s position, initiated by our members through a membership survey, is that in conjunction with improved enforcement by the Sheriff’s dept., the Association could assist Franklin County by generating a proposed plan for modest speed limit changes and signage modifications to help provide an additional level of safety for residents and visitors. This plan has been presented to our commissioner, Mr. Bert Boldt for review and appropriate action. In addition to providing a proposed plan, APSTA offers to fund the purchase of the required signage / lighting and to assist the Road department with location and installation of same. Also, while most signposts will be reused, there may be a few required for signage in new locations. We have spoken with Mr. Nabors and he has indicated that used posts would be available for use if approved by the BCC.

There are several sound reasons for the modifications detailed in our proposal:

  • Our community is severely limited in its possible response or actions to improve enforcement. We can all continue to bemoan improper behavior by the public and the lack of enforcement until we are blue in the face, but in the end all we have done is stomp our feet, gnash our teeth, and nothing is accomplished. Most folks would like things to be the way they used to be 20-30 years ago, regrettably that is not a realistic option in today’s world. At its most basic level, it boils down to a choice between continuing to request better enforcement and doing nothing else, or continuing to request better enforcement and trying to do what we can to improve the safety of our community.
  • The Sheriff recently addressed speeding enforcement in a public statement at the 4 June, Franklin BCC meeting, saying that citations will be issued for any violations 10 mph over the posted speed limit, essentially making our current speed limits 10 mph over the posted numbers due to fudge factors by officers (a 16% speed increase from 60 to 70 mph, but a 40% speed increase from 25 to 35mph. A significant difference). So even if manpower can be provided, they will be enforcing higher speed limits. This is not a condemnation of the Sheriff’s Dept.’s efforts to enforce the law, but a simple statement of fact regarding APSTA’s reasoning behind our proposal.
  • A modest reduction of speed limits in congested areas would be advantageous and conducive to the continued use of golf carts in our community. Lower speeds in congested areas means fewer conflicts with larger vehicles driving at higher speeds. Safer for all and easier for the Sheriff to manage the question of golf carts on a public road.
  • From the east end of the 1200 block of Alligator Drive to the Nature Preserve on the west, Alligator Drive more closely resembles a congested neighborhood street than a rural highway, but has none of the safety improvements normally found along such streets. No curbs, no sidewalks, and a minimal right-of-way often filled with parked cars, construction vehicles, delivery trucks, boats, and yard debris awaiting pickup.
  • In our proposal the vast majority of current speed limits remain the same; no change from Hwy 98 to the east end of the 1200 block on Alligator Drive, and no change on Bald Point Road. These areas are less congested, and the proposal shows more effective placement of existing signage and the installation of flashing caution lights to signage were speed limits change to catch driver attention.
  • As mentioned previously, with the flow of traffic routed around six – 90 degree turns and 2 stop signs from the washout to the current Fire Station, the congestion at the public access points and the S curve (boat ramp, public access, limited line of sight), and pedestrians, runners, pets, bicyclers, and golf carts etc… sharing the roadway with cars and trucks, the chances for a regrettable accident increase every year. Our hope is to improve the situation while continuing to work with the Sheriff’s Dept on increased enforcement.

Below is a narrative outline of APSTA’s proposal:

  • From U.S. 98 to 1200 block of Alligator drive including Bald Point Road, the current speed limits would remain the same. However, some current signage would be relocated slightly to better indicate speed zones and new flashing caution lights would be attached to each sign where a reduction in speed limit is indicated (for example 55 to 45,45 to 35 and 35 to 25). These areas would also be the main focus of continued mobile Radar Speed Signage supplied by the FCSO.
  • From the 1200 Block  of Alligator Drive (where homes begin on both sides of Alligator Drive and congestion from pedestrians, golf carts, etc. increase) to the east end of the road construction the speed limit would be reduced from 35 to 25 and new a flashing caution light would be attached to the sign where a reduction in speed limit is indicated.
  • From the east end of the road construction (new temporary pavement) to the west end of the road construction at the current fire station (where the flow of traffic is routed around six – 90 degree turns, 2 stop signs, and include the entrances to Harbor Circle and Harry Morrison Dr.) the speed limit would be 15 mph (it is currently a mix of 15 -25 mph). New flashing caution lights would be attached to each sign where a reduction in speed limit is indicated.
  • From the current fire station to the end of the Point, the speed limit would be reduced from 35 to 25 mph to accommodate the congestion at the public access points, the S curve (boat ramp, public access, limited line of sight), and pedestrians, runners, pets, bicyclers, and golf carts etc., all sharing the road with cars, construction trucks, service vehicles, and delivery trucks.
  • The Proposal also includes requests for approval to install “Dune Protection” and “Dog Leash” signage at all of the public walkovers.
  • An aerial map of existing speed limits, proposed speed limits, and pictures of the proposed Dune/Dog signage are included for review.

Thank you for your consideration

 

 

Update: There will be additional information available at the next APSTA board meeting Saturday, June 8th 2019 (@Mission by the Sea, 10:00 AM) including a report on progress regarding discussions with Commissioner Bert Boldt, Sheriff A.J. Smith, and Howard Nabors on suggested speed limit changes and sign locations as proposed at the May 11, 2019 board meeting.

30 May Update: Below is a rough outline of APSTA’s proposed plan for speed limit changes and signage modifications presented to Commissioner Boldt to help provide an additional level of safety for residents and visitors. With the flow of traffic routed around six – 90 degree turns and 2 stop signs from the washout to the current Fire Station, the congestion at the public access points and the S curve (boat ramp, public access, limited line of sight), and pedestrians, runners, bicyclers, and golf carts etc… sharing the roadway with cars and trucks, the chances for a regrettable accident increase every year. Our hope is to improve the situation while continuing to work with the Sheriff’s Dept on increased enforcement:

1) From U.S. 98 to 1200 block of Alligator drive including Bald Point Road, the current speed limits would remain the same. However, some current signage would be relocated slightly to better indicate speed zones and new flashing caution lights would be attached to each sign where a reduction in speed limit is indicated (for example 55 to 45, 45 to 35 and 35 to 25). These areas would also be the main focus of continued mobile Radar Speed Signage supplied by the FCSO.   

2) From the 1200 Block  of Alligator Drive (where homes begin on both sides of Alligator Drive and congestion from pedestrians, golf carts, etc. increase) to the east end of the road construction the speed limit would be reduced from 35 to 25 and new a flashing caution light would be attached to  the sign where a reduction in speed limit is indicated.

3) From the east end of the road construction to the west end of the road construction at the current fire station (where the flow of traffic is routed around six – 90 degree turns, 2 stop signs, and the entrances to Harbor Circle and Harry Morrison Dr.) the speed limit would be 15 mph (it is currently a mix of 15 -25mph). New flashing caution lights would be attached to each sign where a reduction in speed limit is indicated.

4) From the current fire station to the end of the Point, the speed limit would be reduced from 35 to 25 mph to accommodate the congestion at the public access points, the S curve (boat ramp, public access, limited line of sight), and pedestrians, runners, bicyclers, and golf carts etc… all sharing the road with cars, construction trucks, service vehicles, and delivery trucks. A roadway that is more like a community street than a rural highway, but without curbs, sidewalks, or even a significant right of way shoulder to help avoid accidents.

The Proposal also includes requests for approval to install “DUNE Protection”  and “Dog Leash” signage at all of the public walkovers 

Please understand that the above has yet to be approved by the County Commission and there could be changes required as that process proceeds. We will continue to keep everyone advised as developments warrant.

Please provide input on this topic by sending your comments to contact@apta-fl.org