homepage logo

Cape Council assumes speed limit authority

By Staff | Sep 10, 2019

Cape Coral City Council assumed decision-making authority for city street speed limits on Monday, voting 6-1 to change an ordinance that had vested that power with the city manager.

Last month, Council voted to cap the speed limit on local roads to 30 mph, a housekeeping measure to prevent an increase of speed limits on these residential roads and to improve safety for those who live and walk there, particularly children.

It was during that meeting that Council brought up the subject of taking over the decision making on speed limit change requests. City Manager John Szerlag did not object, saying he had not needed to perform that task in his seven-plus years with the city. Such requests have traditionally been brought to Council.

During public comment on the ordinance considered Monday, Steve Crane said the city hasn’t been setting speed limits according to the state issued manual and that the speed limits need to be set according to what a speed study recommends, which also need to be done by the manual.

Traffic engineer Bill Corbett said the city has always conducted its speed studies by the book.

Councilmember David Stokes said the idea was to prevent the city from being forced to raise speed limits on local roads if a resident-requested study says the limit should be increased, something that happened years ago after residents demanded a speed study in reaction to cars they said were flying through their residential neighborhood. Those residents thought the study would support their request for lowering the limit.

Councilmember Rick Williams said the city council already has enough on its plate, without having to add speed limit decisions to that mix.

“Judgment calls are not what we’re here for. The city manager has people on staff to make those decisions,” Williams said before issuing the lone dissent. “He should be the person to take that load off us.”

In other business:

* Cape Coral City Council unanimously approved a resolution that will bring the city an additional $850,000 annually for the next four fiscal years from the five-cent and six-cent local option gas tax. The city is receiving a larger share of the gas tax revenues. The money will be used to pay for additional street lights and an extra crew to build sidewalks.

* Council approved an ordinance to transmit a change to the city’s comprehensive plan to include amendments to the Conservation and Coastal Management Elements to provide consistency with and adoption of the Water Supply Facilities Work Plan.

* Assistant City Manager Connie Barron announced the city had won three awards at the annual Communicator Awards. The city won the awards of excellence and distinction for a video it did on the $60 million Parks GO Bond referendum, and a distinction award for a video on the city app, featuring Councilmember Jessica Cosden.