PORT RICHEY — Speeding on Old Post Road and Bay Boulevard remains a concern among residents and some city council members, but a recent traffic survey did not validate the speed limit reductions.
City Manager John Dudte and Port Richey Police Chief Cyrus Robinson presented the results of the study at the regular council meeting on May 25. The process took about a month overall and used newly acquired equipment that measured traffic numbers and speeds at four locations along Old Post Road.
Old Post Road is a north-south stretch over a mile west of U.S. Highway 19. It extends from its southern intersection with Cotee Avenue to the waterfront entertainment district of Cotee River Landing to its dead end north of Koons Road and the location of Brasher Park.
The issue of speeding along Old Post was brought to council’s attention in early March, primarily by councilors William Dittmer and Tom Kinsella. Councilors took complaints received by other residents of the city to the council, and Bay Boulevard, which intersects with Old Post, also received attention.
Since initial discussions in March, the Port Richey Police Department has obtained new equipment to monitor and record traffic wherever the devices are placed. Officers set up the data analysis equipment at four points – two along Old Post and two along Bay Boulevard. The process began March 26 and ended April 27, and data was collected at each location for periods of approximately six days.
According to Robinson, the number of speeding tickets that occurred along Old Post Road and Bay Boulevard – both with posted speed limits of 30 mph – “are well below the norm for either changing the speed limit , lower it, or for that it is important to install speed bumps.
While researching the issue, Dudte discovered that federal and state guidelines recommend tackling speed limits or taking other response actions when at least 20% of monitored traffic turns out to be going too fast. quick. In the case of Port Richey, this speeding rate along Old Post Road and Bay Boulevard was between 1 and 2%.
The police department collected data along Old Post at one point north of Bay Boulevard and another near the intersection with Miles Boulevard, south of Bay. A total of 18,250 vehicles were recorded, with average speeds of 29 mph north of Bay and 27 mph at Miles Boulevard. A total of 267 vehicles were traveling at speeds warranting an enforceable violation.
Data collection points along Bay Boulevard were placed on Miller Bayou Drive, west of Old Post, and near Pelican Bay Apartments, east of Old Post. On this busier road, a total of 39,452 vehicles were recorded and average speeds of 31mph and 30mph, respectively. Of nearly 40,000 vehicles, 648 could have received an enforceable speeding ticket.
“I was really happy to see the numbers when they came to see the very low percentages of enforceable speeding violations,” Mayor Scott Tremblay said. “It’s actually a good thing for the city.”
Despite the results, some council members and residents are not yet ready to drop the case.
“This study was done over a period of six days (at each location),” Kinsella said. “Again, quite a few residents showed up at these meetings with their concerns. Personally, I would like this study to go on for a full month…to get the big picture of what’s going on instead of six days here or there.
Tremblay and councilor Todd Maklary expressed approval of Kinsella’s suggestion, and Dudte said he would speak with Chief Robinson to come up with a plan.
“I think we owe the citizens the respect we need to go a little deeper,” Kinsella said.
While the stats don’t indicate widespread speeding, every location has recorded instances of speeding, especially on Old Post. The highest recorded speed at the site north of Bay Boulevard was 60 mph. South of Bay, this high mark was 71 mph, 41 above the posted limit.
The highest recorded speeds along the two Bay Boulevard locations were 53 mph and 59 mph.
While Dudte didn’t recommend a lowered speed limit or the installation of speed bumps, he said the city could consider other traffic-calming strategies. These could involve changing the way roads are marked or planting trees along the shoulders to make roads appear narrower to motorists. Studies have shown that this visual perception can cause motorists to slow down, Dudte said, instead of speeding up on wider stretches.
Old Post Road and Bay Boulevard are the first of many roads in Port Richey to be surveyed and assessed, Robinson told the council. “We’re on our third additional route with the device, so we’re trying to be ahead of the curve and see what our traffic speed issues, if any, are in the city.”
Washington Street, a road that intersects US 19 south of Ridge Road in Port Richey and heads south to New Port Richey, was analyzed and found to require a moderate level of enforcement, has said Robinson. At the time of last Tuesday’s meeting, the police department was in its third week of enforcement along Washington Street.