In the last 15 months, the city has had to replace a knocked-down stop sign along Slow Way four times.
A large part of the problem with the 150-foot-long unpaved road called "Slow Way" has been that people take it too fast.
Reacting to resident concerns about speeding traffic that uses the road as a cut-through between U.S. 1 and Seminole Woods Boulevard, Palm Coast's City Council on Feb. 16 voted unanimously to close the road by adding fencing and a gate that can be accessed only by first responders.
Slow Way, which links County Road 325 to residential Slow Drift Turn, has worried neighbors for years.
The existing problem was recently exacerbated by a Seminole Woods Boulevard closure that pushed more nonlocal traffic onto the cut-through.
A city-government-led community meeting Oct. 12 brought out a lot of unhappy neighbors who urged the city to fix the problem. The city's staff evaluated the road.
"Evidence of the aggressive driving included ruts in the northeast quadrant of Slow Way at Slow Drift Turn," a city staff document states. " ... In the previous 15 months, the city had replaced a knocked down stop sign and post in that quadrant four times. The residents stated they have made this same appeal to the city, approximately every two years, for the last 15 years."
One resident of nearby Sloganeer Trail criticized the proposed closure and said he hadn't received a city email about the community meeting, and didn't know anyone who had.
"Are we adequately surveying the residents on this?" he said at the Feb. 16 meeting. "... That Slow Way closure is not only used by Palm Coast residents, but by all my neighbors who live on [County Road] 325 and [County Road] 330. ... Are they being considered also? Have they been surveyed? Because this impacts not only Palm Coast, but people outside — my neighbors, that I like to visit."
He criticized a city staff statement that closing the road would only increase locals' drive time by 40 seconds, stating that it would add over a mile to his commute.
"The residents, myself included, often jog, walk and use Slow Way to access 330 and 325, because they're lightly traveled roads," he said. "What accommodations for people who are using walking, bicycles, golf carts, that travel that road frequently?"
But a resident who lives on one side of Slow Way said the heavy traffic has become intolerable.
"Children have been almost hit getting on school buses, the residents' property is being destroyed, my neighbor has replaced his fence seven or eight times, my other neighbor has replaced his mailbox annually from people cutting through too fast on a road that is not capable of handling that sort of traffic," she said. "... I have sat and taken picture of semis coming down 325. Those residential streets are not built for that kind of transportation, so it's destroying the road infrastructure. It is a resident safety issue, and it's a neighborhood; it's not a main thoroughfare."
The council voted 5-0 to close the road. The gate will have a Z-shaped opening to allow access by pedestrians and bicyclists, city Chief Development Officer Jason DeLorenzo said.