Jacksonville, FL (July 22, 2019) — Councilman Becton and residents of the Brookwood at Nocatee community gathered at the Nocatee Welcome Center for a public meeting to discuss safety concerns of parents throughout their neighborhood regarding: Speeding. Brookwood residents are requesting to petition for a speed reduction and asked for Councilman Becton’s help.
Back in June, Brookwood’s Homeowner Association board member, William Fitzgerald, contacted Councilman Becton’s office on behalf of his neighborhood about petitioning a speed reduction from their current 30 mph and how to initiate the process.
According to COJ’s Office of General Counsel, in order to change the speed limit on any local road, residents and the necessary parties would have to complete the following steps provided in the language from the Ordinance Code, Section 804.406: “1) Obtain a form petition from the Public Works Department; 2) Contact your Council Member to request a public meeting, which should include JFRD and the Traffic Engineering Section of Public Works, and the Council Member; the petition, process and costs associated with the potential change will be discussed with the neighborhood and affected owners at this time; 3) After the meeting, the signed petition will need to be submitted to Public Works Department, attention City Highway Engineer.”
After receiving Mr. Fitzgerald’s initial request for a petition, Councilman Becton’s office coordinated a public meeting with the Brookwood Community, Chief of Traffic Engineering’s Chris LeDew, and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department’s Chief Keith Powers.
The meeting was held at 6:00 p.m. on July 22nd and was highly attended by residents from the community. Councilman Becton started the meeting with a brief introduction before leaving the floor to Chief LeDew and Chief Powers, who provided residents information on the process for changing a speed limit and the timeline and cost for doing so during the hour and a half meeting. Chief Powers explained the safety side of this petition, and assured residents that if the speed limit were to be reduced, it would not affect emergency services in anyway.
The meeting’s discussion explained how a speed reduction is determined and what the requirements are. The ordinance code requires a petition with at least 75% of the homeowner’s signatures, indicating that they agree with the proposal. Public Works then generates an invoice for the speed reduction and the community’s Homeowner’s Association would be responsible for 50% of the total costs. A traffic assessment would then be done to decide whether the reduced speed limit will align with FDOT’s criteria and if it’s a reasonable alternative for the area. If the City decides that it is and receives the approval from JSO’s Sheriff, Public Works will then install new signs and the new speed limit will take effect.
However, a speed reduction is not the only preventative measure. Chief LeDew presented three additional options to control traffic: speed bumps, speed humps, and speed tables. These types of ‘traffic-control devices’ are installed on public roads and in private developments but are not used on main roadways. Speed bumps, humps, and tables have a similar look and purpose; however, they range in size and are used in different traffic environments. Speed bumps are the shortest in length, stretching to about one to three feet long, and “typically installed in private residential developments and shopping centers”. Speed Humps are 10 to 12 feet long and “mostly used in residential streets with speed limits up to 25 mph”, and speed tables have a length of 20 to 25 feet and are “used on more traveled residential streets with speeds up to 30 mph.”
After the meeting concluded, Chief LeDew visited Brookwood at Nocatee and determined that 20 mph was an appropriate speed limit throughout the neighborhood and two speed limit signs would need to be installed, if the speed limit is changed. The total for installing two signs is $550 ($275 per sign) making the cost for the HOA, $275, again sharing 50% of the cost. Chief LeDew also suggested the installation of six potential speed humps. The price for installing all six speed humps, totaled $15,000 ($2,750 per hump), but the HOA would only be responsible for half of it, $7,500.
Since the public meeting in July, COJ’s Traffic Engineering division provided the neighborhood its requested petition with the determined speed limit of 20 mph, costs for the speed limit sign and speed hump option, as well as a map indicating the location of the six potential speed humps, if residents vote for that option.
The Brookwood community is responsible for submitting the petition to public works after receiving 75% or more of the required signatures.