Palm Coast – Traffic safety is an important concern for any community, and the City of Palm Coast is taking steps to ensure that residents can feel safe and secure while driving, walking, or biking in their neighborhoods. From working with law enforcement to enforce traffic laws, to maintaining the continuous street lighting program, to researching traffic-calming measures such as speed bumps and speed limit radar signs, the City is dedicated to reducing the risk of accidents and injuries on its roads.
In 2022, the City of Palm Coast completed a Pedestrian Accommodation Feasibility Study, which identified 70 residential collector roadways that would benefit from the addition of sidewalks. Adding sidewalks to existing residential streets can be a costly endeavor. It often requires the acquisition of additional land or the negotiation of easements with property owners, as well as the relocation of utility poles, underground wires or pipes, and other infrastructure. The construction process itself can also be expensive, as it often involves the excavation and grading of soil, the installation of drainage systems, and the pouring and finishing or reconstruction of driveways or asphalt. All of these factors can make the cost of adding sidewalks to existing residential streets quite high, sometimes making it cost-prohibitive to pursue.
While the Pedestrian Accommodation Feasibility Study results are analyzed for potential funding sources, the City continues to seek initiatives to keep neighborhoods safe. Palm Coast encompasses 439 miles of residential roadways. The most frequent complaint the City receives within residential areas is related to speeding. Speeding is a dangerous behavior that puts everyone on the road at risk, and it can be especially hazardous in neighborhoods where there are often more pedestrians and cyclists present. The City evaluates every complaint received and, if necessary, works with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office to address any issues.
Florida State Statute 316.183 (2) mandates that the maximum speed limit in residential areas must be 30 miles per hour. The City of Palm Coast owns radar speed recorders that can be placed for seven days at a time to collect data on driver speed patterns in specific locations. The City performed 26 residential roadway speeding studies in 2022 and shared this information with the Sheriff’s Office. All 26 studies found traffic performing at a normal range for the posted speed.
Additionally, a wide range of traffic calming measures have been researched. The Institute of Transportation Engineers defines traffic calming as the combination of mainly physical measures that reduce the negative effects of motor vehicle use, alter driver behavior, and improve conditions for non-motorized street users. The City of Palm Coast was designed with traffic calming on residential roads inherently. The way the roadways loop and curve, rather than solely straight roadway sections, are primary examples of traffic-calming elements woven into the base design of the City’s residential roadways. The City has also added landscape medians to some City streets as a traffic-calming method.
Another traffic calming measure researched is the speed radar sign. While this device does not physically alter the roadway, it does offer some speed reduction potential. Currently, the City of Palm Coast has these signs installed on Florida Park Drive and Casper Drive. Short-term results of these methods show a mild reduction in speeding. However, the long-term results show that the impact is lost over time, and therefore, the tool becomes ineffective. It can also be costly to maintain.
And finally, traffic-calming speed bumps, humps, and tables were also examined and evaluated. The results showed that speed was reduced in the 200 feet prior to the traffic calming device and the 300 feet following the device. However, drivers tend to accelerate rapidly once they pass the device, causing unexpected driver behaviors. It was also determined that these measures have a negative impact on emergency response times, and wear and tear on vehicles.
Other areas of neighborhood traffic safety that the City consistently implements is residential lighting for intersections, residential signage, and collaboration and cooperation with the Sheriff’s Office.
Whether it’s through education and awareness campaigns, preventative measures like street lighting, or by making infrastructure improvements, the City of Palm Coast is committed to creating a safe and secure transportation network for all of its residents. The City of Palm Coast will continue to study and evaluate traffic safety within the City to make improvements and address any issues that arise.
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