Projects to make neighborhood streets safer for students attending village schools were approved by council members during the Sept. 13 Palmetto Bay Village Council meeting, and residents can expect to see construction work begin in early October. Director of Public Works Corrice Patterson explained the background of the improvements during an interview on Sept. 20.
“There are two traffic calming projects we’ve been planning for the past two years, close to two different elementary schools, Howard Drive on 136th Street and 77th Avenue and Coral Reef on 152nd Street,” Patterson said. “Those areas receive a lot of cut-through traffic and the people there have asked for help. We did a study a year and a half ago and the outcome was a recommendation for a certain type of traffic calming device.”
Patterson said that residents in the affected areas initially had resisted the idea of installing those devices — “Speed Tables” — but eventually that view changed.
“They realized that they needed something in place that was a permanent device rather than a police officer who has to be in the area to catch speeders because someone did not obey the sign,” Patterson said. “The table is a permanent device in the roadway and vehicles have to slow down.”
Patterson said that two traffic tables will be installed on SW 74th Court, one on 75th Avenue and another one on 140th Street.
A speed table is a raised section of the road surface, approximately 20 feet wide and at least three inches tall, with the dimensions tuned so that a passenger car traveling 25 mph feels only a small rise and fall, while cars traveling faster will feel a sharp jolt. Uncomfortable only for speeders, it is a highly evolved speed bump.
The village had to get approval from the county for the project, and with that cleared and the vote by the council at the Sept. 13 meeting, the work will begin soon. Village officials recently conducted a preconstruction meeting.
“We expect to begin construction the first part of October,” Patterson said. “We have to give out the contracts and also we need to prepare message boards to alert people in the area.”
Work also is expected to begin on Oct. 1 on another important project, a traffic circle located at SW 87th Avenue and 168th Street, and designed to improve flow and reduce the risk of accidents.
“It’s a village project on which we have received approval from the county,” Patterson said. “We are in the final stages of getting ready for that. We want to get that completed before the holidays.”
Funding for the traffic circle will come from federal stimulus money intended to help the community. Patterson stated that she is pleased to have the opportunity to make the various improvements.