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Bay Isles speed tables remade to right size

Too-steep original versions replaced to the correct specifications.

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  • | 9:08 a.m. March 12, 2019
  • Longboat Key
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After discovering the four speed tables just installed along Harbourside Drive were built to the wrong specifications, the Bay Isles Association is having its contractor rebuild the traffic-calming devices at no cost to property owners.

Bob Simmons, president of the association, said the contractor built the speed tables with a 1-inch rise every four inches, rather than a 1-inch rise every 14 inches, making them far steeper and more abrupt than desired. That angle made it bumpy for any motorist driving over the speed table, especially for those exceeding the 30 mph speed limit. Complaints about them surfaced almost immediately. A higher-visibility look for the speed tables is also in the works.

“The change will make it much smoother,” said Simmons.

In December, the association — the governing board of the 19 homeowners associations where more than 1,500 people live —  voted to install four speed tables on the north and south ends of Harbourside Drive, Bay Isles’ main road behind the gated entrances, as a means to slow speeders. Part of Harbourside is four lanes, while the other portion is curvy and two lanes.

Proper speed tables are being installed.
Proper speed tables are being installed.

Speed tables, rather than speed bumps, were chosen by the association because they have a gentle rise and are designed not to be as jarring to motorists. The $20,000 project was paid out of membership dues, not from tax dollars because the roads are privately maintained.

Even though the four speed tables should be fixed this week, some Bay Isles residents said they were not happy the board opted to go this route in the first place.

In a letter to the Longboat Observer, resident Cynthia Craig said she thought the organization was leaning toward speed-monitoring devices as a way to deal with drivers exceeding the speed limit. Speed tables were not a welcome addition, she said.

Simmons said earlier this year monitoring devices were tried not long after the organization’s safety committee formed in 2011, but they were ineffective.

“I haven’t heard anyone say, ‘Oh good, a speed table!’” Craig wrote. “Most of what I hear about the speed table is not re-printable in a community publication.”

Simmons said once the concrete cures on the speed tables  — which usually takes around three weeks — then chevrons will be painted with reflective material to warn motorists of the upcoming traffic-calming device.

Longboat Fire and Rescue Chief Paul Dezzi said he has no issue with the Bay Isles speed tables, but said chevrons are needed to warn his emergency responders.

“They will slow a truck down a little,” Dezzi said. “My concern was that there were no markings.”