BELLEAIR — Mayor Gary Katica summed up one item following a discussion about traffic calming in one sentence.
“One thing we have learned for sure is that you don’t want speed bumps on your streets,” Katica said.
Katica made the remark at the regular commission meeting on March 19. It came after a lengthy discussion involving more than a dozen residents and the commissioners.
They were there because of resident complaints about speeding traffic on Pineland Avenue, Palm Avenue and Golf View Drive.
At a previous meeting, Rodney Vincent, a resident, told the commission if something wasn’t done the area would turn into a mini I-4.
Speeding, however, did not seem to be the problem, at least according to Police Chief Rick Doyle. In recent months, the police department monitored the traffic on Pineland Avenue and Golf View Drive, and their findings were counter to what the residents claimed.
“We monitored traffic on Pineland for four days in October and five days in January and the average speed was 21 miles per hour in October and 22 miles per hour in January,” said Doyle.
Similar dates and times related to Golf View and the speeds were between 20 and 22 miles per hour.
Doyle noted that the studies were done both in-season and out of season and there was virtually no difference. Those numbers didn’t stop the dozen or so residents from complaining.
One resident of Palm Avenue maintained there was speeding on his road.
“The cars come flying around the corners; we have to get out of the way,” he said.
“Cars just speed down our street and children and pets live on the block,” said another resident.
Several more residents had similar things to say with a handful suggesting that speed bumps might be the answer.
Commissioner Karla Rettstatt recalled the time when some residents in town got up a petition to have speed bumps installed on their street – not long after they got up another petition asking that the speed bumps be removed.
“Make sure you know what you want before you ask,” said Rettstatt.
That gave rise to more residents saying that speed bumps were not the answer and they didn’t want them on their streets.
“I’m not a fan of speed bumps,” said one woman. “Perhaps lowering the speed limit and medians, but not speed bumps.”
“I don’t like speed bumps; they would be a big mistake,” said another resident.
It was then that Katica made his remark about knowing what the residents don’t want, namely speed bumps.
Town Manager J.P. Murphy will now begin the process of having a four-way stop sign installed at the intersection of Golf View and Pineland. It will be 60 days before the sign is installed. If that doesn’t help slow traffic then more studies will be done.
“That is a good first step,” said Commissioner Tom Kurey.
At the same meeting Commissioner Rettstatt expressed concern over the safety at the Recreation Center. She said given the events that are going on in this country and around the world it is time to have a good hard look at safety at the rec.
“I question if the rec center is that safe,” she said. “The gym has three doors and anyone can come in and walk around, and we don’t know who they are.”
Rettstatt said recently a resident just walked into the rec and into a meeting with no one stopping her.
“If that person had ill will they could have done whatever they wanted.”
“It is too loose; we need to tighten that up. We need to be aware of what is going on out there. We don’t have that,” she said.
Murphy said security at the rec has already been talked about with more discussion to take place.
In other commission news, Murphy has been given a go-ahead to talk to Amazon about having a drop box placed outside the police station where parcels for residents could be left. He said, “that should prevent the porch pirates from doing their dirty work.”