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The speed tables in front of Southside Elementary School were installed in July after a traffic study.
Sarasota Thursday, Sep. 6, 2012 2 years ago

Webber residents battle speeding

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by: Roger Drouin

Recently constructed speed tables along a stretch of Webber Street have turned a “dragstrip” cut-through into a residential street. And residents want to keep it that way.

During the City Commission meeting Tuesday, Aug. 4, several residents spoke in favor of keeping the speed tables along Webber Street in front of Southside Elementary School.

Two speed tables were installed in July, after traffic counts and a study determined that there was sufficient cut-through traffic to require the use of a traffic-slowing device in the area. However, the tables were built about one to two inches higher than standard specifications, prompting concern from residents that the city will have to alter the speed tables to meet specifications.

Residents say the tables are effective in slowing speeders, and they are concerned that altering the speed tables by lowering them might encourage motorists to ignore the posted speed limit of 25 mph. They said removing them would invite speeders to use the street as a cut-through between U.S. 41 and Osprey Avenue.

“I compare living on Webber Street before the speed tables to like being on a dragstrip,” said Wendy Lahood. “Now our concern is we feel it is the correct level of traffic calming, and we would like it to stay.”

Commissioner Shannon Snyder agreed with residents and said he would like to see the speed limit lowered on the stretch of Webber, and the speed tables left as is.

“Even though this is an ‘oops,’ it’s a pretty good ‘oops,’” Snyder said.

Lowering the speed limit from the current limit of 25 mph is one option that would allow the speed tables to remain without modifications because they would meet the correct specifications.

Chief City Planner Ryan Chapdelain said that whatever solution the city decides upon, it will be the result of working closely with nearby residents, city engineers and public works.

A major concern of residents is also that the street runs in front of Southside Elementary.

“Only people who don’t want to slow down in front of a school don’t like this,” Lahood said about the speed tables.

Chapdelain said that if motorists travel the speed limit, they will not damage their cars on the speed tables. It is only those drivers who are going 30 mph or faster that might hear scraping metal.

“We are looking at what requirements we’d have to meet to lower it,” Chapdelain said.

Contact Roger Drouin at rdrouin@yourobserver.com.

 

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