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Palm Coast Tuesday, May 28, 2019 1 year ago

City considers adding landscaping, air quality monitoring stations on Florida Park Drive

Council members want to see creative solutions.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

In a City Council discussion about Florida Park Drive, Mayor Milissa Holland did not want to hear that doing nothing was a possibility. 

"Who said that was an option? I'm just curious," Holland said after city Construction Manager Carl Cote, giving a presentation about the road to the council May 28, listed as one of three potential courses of action the option to do nothing until the road's quality degrades to a level rated as "Level C." "Did staff just put that in there because they felt it was appropriate?"

Cote said that the no-action option had been the one favored by the city's previous traffic engineer — back in 2015.

"I'm not interested in hearing what former councils did in 2015," Holland said. "So, again, we asked you to come with some solutions, so why would you put that in there as an option?"

"It meets our standard — City Council's standard level of service," Cote replied.

"Well, that's frustrating," Holland said. "I’m just going to say that, that’s really frustrating. I mean, just because it meets it? This is a strategic action item of this council. That is not OK. That is very frustrating."

Cote said staff was listing it as one option, "not saying that's the recommended option."

"What I'm saying is, we are looking for active solutions," Holland said. "What I was hoping for was not to have an option thrown out there, ‘lets’ just wait, kick the can down the road, and when it gets to a Level C, then we'll actually do something. That's not an option for me. I just need to voice that, because that's frustrating."

Councilman Bob Cuff noted, "in fairness to staff," that he'd been "harangued by citizens all the time that say, 'Why are you doing this, why are you doing that? Just don't do anything; there isn't a problem.'"

Cuff said he was in favor of exploring options. But he said that the people pressing for change on Florida Park Drive are a "small group of citizens." And he could also envision the city holding a neighborhood meeting about adding traffic calming, and having hundreds of people that commute on the street turn up threatening to sue.

Holland said she didn't presume to know the solution, but wanted creative options. Councilman Eddie Branquinho agreed. (Two other council members, Nick Klufas and Jack Howell, were absent).

Cote said the city could consider reducing the speed limit or barring commercial truck traffic. But stopping trucks from using the road as a throughway, he said, would be difficult.

Lassiter Transportation Group President R. Sans Lassiter mentioned some other possibilities: Palm Coast could add landscaping on the road, or it could employ new medians, road-narrowing measures or roundabouts. But he said measures that slow traffic will also lead to an increase in emissions, especially if they increase vehicle stops and starts.

Holland was most interested in the landscaping option.

Cote noted that there is limited space on Florida Park Drive — the right-of-way is 60 feet — so any landscaping might have to be on residents' properties.

The council asked city staff to look into more options, and to gather information on the cost of adding permanent air quality monitoring stations on Florida Park Drive or having a consultant periodically bring in mobile ones.

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