REDINGTON SHORES – Last month, at a workshop session, the Redington Shores Town Commission appeared ready to approve the use of speed tables as a way to control speeding motorists on 175th Avenue East.
However, residents who were strongly opposed to that plan, along with a few in favor, packed town hall and voiced their opinions at the April 12 regular commission meeting.
The residents’ opposition caused the Town Commission to put off any approval of speed tables for 175th Avenue or any other town road for at least 90 days. Another workshop will be held on the issue Wednesday, April 26, at 6 p.m., Mayor Bert Adams said.
Those who spoke against the speed tables had a common theme. They don’t want them in their neighborhood because they are unsightly, noisy, no fun to drive over and, in their view, do little to control speeding.
Rick Townsley said speed tables are “not esthetically appearing, noisy and would be unsightly outside my home.” Townsley said he had talked to people who have speed tables in their neighborhood and “heard nothing but bad things.”
Townsley said there were other viable speed control options to consider, such as flashing signs that let motorists know they are speeding and increased police patrols.
Speed tables are a problem for EMS vehicles, and interfere with water drainage, said Bill Harris. He told of radar devices that take a photo of speeders’ license plates as an enforceable option.
Harris said, “Ninety percent of the community doesn’t want speed tables, and few people need them to slow down.”
Ken McManaway said controlling speeding requires enforcement and education for the whole community. He recommended a speed limit sign with radar attached. Also, he said, “we need to enforce the laws we have.”
C.J. Hoyt read from an article she printed out that had a long list of negatives associated with speed tables. They are “expensive to maintain and install, interfere with EMS response times, reduce property values, increase noise levels, increase wear and tear on residential and commercial vehicles, are expensive to remove, reduce fuel efficiencies and increase gas consumption.”
Donna Boerner said speed humps and tables reduce property values.
“People do not want to buy a home with speed bumps in front of it,” she said.
Dan Hart agreed. He said, “a speed bump does not make a neighborhood inviting.”
Those in favor of using speed tables to control speeding mostly said the options tried so far have not worked.
Angela Hawthorne said speeding is so terrible she has been trying to flag motorists down to slow them.
“Lowering the speed limit has not worked, speeding has gotten worse,” said Hawthorne.
Georgia Cranmore said, “I don’t like speed humps, but they work. And they are the only thing that works.”
“We’ve tried everything. It’s time to look into this,” said Dave Browning.
Jason Schrimsher challenged the commission to go ahead and approve the use of speed tables, despite resident opposition. He told of a little girl on his street with a learning disability.
“They tell her not to go in the street, and she doesn’t remember,” he said.
Schrimsher said she and other children are in danger from speeding motorists.
Schrimsher told the commission, “Flashing lights, police enforcement, you’ve tried that. It is your responsibility to provide public safety. If you’ve tried other options that don’t work, it’s up to you to do something that works.”
Adams said the commission had heard complaints about speeding every year he has been on the commission.
“We have tried to come up with solutions, and I still get passed at least four times a week going 20 mph (the speed limit) down 175th Avenue,” he said.
Commissioner Tom Kapper made a motion to approve installation of speed tables on 175th Avenue. But Commissioner Jeffrey Neal, who represents the neighborhood where they would be installed, said the commission should wait and try another option he and Public Works Director Steve Andrews had come up with.
Neal said the county would place hoses across the street that record the speed of vehicles. Tickets can then be issued to speeders.
“Let’s give it a try,” Neal said.
Commissioner Mary Beth Henderson agreed. She also said an unmanned police car might work.
“It would scare people, manned or unmanned,” she said.
Henderson added, “I was once 100 percent for the speed tables. But we are the people’s voice, not ours. And I’m hearing ‘No.’”
The commission agreed to table a vote on the speed tables for 90 days, while looking at other options.