REDINGTON SHORES – An ordinance that reduces the speed limit from 25 to 20 mph gained final passage at the Jan. 8 Redington Shores Commission meeting.
The approval means 20 mph is the maximum speed motorists can travel on all town roads. Some roads already have a 15 mph limit and that will not change. Also, Gulf Boulevard will not change.
The lowering of the speed limit was favored by four of the five commission members. But Commissioner Casey Wojcik and some residents opposed the change.
A recent traffic study done by the Indian Shores Police Department showed only 7 percent of the drivers in the test area exceeded 30 mph, with 85 percent travelling between the allowable limits of 20 to 29 mph, Wojcik pointed out.
Wojcik said he did not believe changing the speed limit would change the behavior of the 7 percent who are speeding. Enforcement of the current speed limit is the issue, he said.
“If the 7 percent will not be impacted, and the enforcement of the current law will not be improved, why alter the acceptable behavior of 93 percent of the motorists,” Wojcik asked. He said 175th Avenue, which will be most impacted by the speed limit reduction, is the main artery to all the homes on Long Point Drive and Wall Street.
Input from residents on the subject has been running about 50/50 for and against the speed limit reduction, Wojcik said. The few residents who have spoken on the topic at recent meetings have all been opposed.
Wojcik has long been against lowering the speed limit, but voted in favor when the ordinance was passed on first reading. This time he voted no, a move that was backed by the one resident who spoke at the meeting. She lives on Wall Street.
“I haven’t witnessed a problem and I’ve lived in this town for 20-plus years,” she said.
Commissioner Tom Kapper disagreed. Kapper said he walks his dog in that neighborhood and sees a lot of people going too fast.
“Will (lowering the speed limit) solve it? I don’t know, but it sure isn’t going to hurt anything,” Kapper said.
Flood plain plan updated
The commission unanimously approved updates to the town’s Flood Plain Management Plan. The plan is updated yearly for compliance with state regulations. The action helps residents get extra discounts on their flood insurance payments and assures them “the maximum ability to survive a storm,” Wojcik said. Wojcik is the town’s Mitigation Strategy Coordinator.
This year’s changes include integrating the town’s television broadcasts and Internet streaming with Pinellas County’s Emergency Operations Center so residents that have evacuated can stay in touch via the Internet with local conditions. Also increasing awareness of the Weather Spotting training for residents.
A recommendation to determine the feasibility of Waterman valves to assist in stormwater control was eliminated after a study showed local tides were not powerful enough to enable them to work properly.