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City Council talks ‘traffic calming’

By Staff | Feb 25, 2020

Residents who live on Southeast 8th Place say they live through their own personal horror story every morning when they walk their dogs or jog down the street.

Cars whiz by them, some well over the speed limit, cars that you can’t see until they are atop the bridge that runs through it.

“People are speeding. There are signs up with a flag that says 30 mph, and nobody ever slows down,” said Ruth Visan, who lives on the street. “They go around you if you turn in your driveway.”

Several residents on the street made their displeasure known during public input at Monday’s Cape Coral City Council workshop at City Hall, wanting the city to come up with answers to their dilemma.

One of the topics of this non-voting meeting was “traffic calming” and how to alleviate problems on certain streets in the Cape, whether it be speed or problems with the volume of cars.

Bill Corbett, city traffic engineer, gave council a presentation seeking consensus regarding a traffic calming policy and the implementation of physical traffic calming devices on residential streets as requested by citizens. Staff proposes to develop a policy for council adoption.

Staff recommends imposing a special assessment to fund the installation of physical traffic control devices. The level of funding paid for by residents would be determined through a point system. The higher the score, the more need for traffic calming, and therefore more cost.

The question was where the funding to start the program would come from.

Currently, the city posts short-term radar trailers to display the speed cars are traveling and target problem areas for police enforcement.

In 2016, a similar program was proposed to City Council. How-ever, after city staff presented several traffic calming programs, the council left funding off the 2017 budget.

Corbett said ineffective methods include extra stop signs, speed bumps and rumble stops, which actually make the problem worse as cars speed up between them.

Corbett suggested speed humps, speed tables, intersection humps, roundabouts, chicanes (alternating cur extensions or islands), curb extensions and raised medians as possible solutions, though those would cost money.

Councilmember Rick Williams remembered the first time this came up and said in 2016-17 they had asked for a policy, but he said they never saw one.

“Your presentation can be considered part of a policy but when we asked, you brought back a package of implementation,” Williams said. “It got shot down because it was a lot of bucks and it didn’t make sense to have a garage full of speed bumps. It has to be done in pieces, not at once.”

City Manager John Szerlag said the presentation was the policy. The city has gotten more than 100 requests from residents regarding traffic issues on their street and they need starter money to get the program going.

Councilmember John Carioscia said there are only a handful of streets that really need the calming policy, including Southeast 8th Terrace. The rest could be handled through enforcement.

“One phone call does not qualify a street for traffic calming. What would qualify, we need to know that,” Carioscia said. “How can we appropriate funds and not know how many streets we’re going to apply it to?”

Southeast 8th Place is often used as a way to avoid the traffic light at Hancock Bridge Parkway and Cultural Park Boulevard. Residents say the road is too narrow.

“That’s a five-minute traffic light. You could read a book there. When they cross that bridge, if they see they have a chance, they put the pedal to the metal,” said Dan Glancey. “The only markings are a double yellow line on the bridge. I’ve lived here seven years and have gone through five mailboxes. One of the scariest parts of my day is getting the mail.”