The council will vote at a future meeting on whether to close the road.
Would the kind of driver who’s reckless enough to speed along residential streets while using them as a cut-through be responsible enough to follow signs telling them not to use those streets?
"I'm in favor of closing the road now, before any child gets hurt."
— ED DANKO, Palm Coast City Council member
The City Council considered that dilemma at a June 8 workshop as its members pondered what to do about Slow Way, a local road whose residents have complained about speeding, non-local traffic.
The council had voted on Feb. 16 to close the road by adding a gate that can only be opened by first responders. But finalizing a closure takes two successive votes, and after the first one, other residents told the council that a closure would lengthen their drives. The council decided to reconsider its options, asking city staff to investigate and bring back more information.
At a council workshop June 8, city Chief Development Officer Jason DeLorenzo presented three possibilities. The city could:
A. Make no changes to Slow Way
B. Install signs and a gate to close Slow Way to cut-through traffic
C. Install truck route signs on Seminole Woods Boulevard and GVWR limit signs on Slow Way.
Councilman Nick Klufas said he believed the concerns brought to the council by locals who opposed the potential road closure didn’t outweigh the safety risks of a child being struck by a car.
But there was another concern: Slow Way branches off County Road 325 at its northern end, and closing Slow Way with a gate would leave trucks that traveled down 325 with no exit or turnaround. “No outlet” signs could be added ahead on C.R. 325 to warn the trucks about the lack of a turnaround, but there would still be the risk of a truck getting stuck, Klufas said.
Councilman Eddie Branquinho said the damage at the corners of Slow Way from through-traffic isn't much different from that at some other city intersections, like Eric Drive and Easthampton Boulevard. If the city could close off Slow Way with a gate and then use signs to warn truck drivers that C.R. 325 dead-ends without a turnaround, he said, why can’t it forgo the gate and use signs to tell drivers not to use Slow Way?
“If they’re going to respect the ‘no outlet’ signs, they’re also going to respect the ‘do not enter’ signs,” Branquinho said.
Klufas raised the possibility of starting with just “do not enter” signs on Slow Way, and adding a gate there only if the signs don’t stop the through-traffic.
But Councilman Ed Danko didn’t think signs alone would be enough to prevent people from using the road as a cut-through, and wasn't willing to consider Klufas' suggestion of trying signs alone for an interim period.
"If some kid gets hit during that experiment, that's not going to sit very well," Danko said. He added that he believed truck drivers would be experienced enough to avoid the road if the city gates it off and adds signs marking the approach as "no outlet," but that "do not enter" signs, in the absence of a gate, wouldn't be enough to deter other drivers from using the road as a cut-through.
"So, we'll close the street because some people will not respect the signs?" Branquinho said.
"We'll close the street because of a safety issue," Danko replied.
The council is scheduled to vote on Slow Way at a meeting on July 6.