River Oaks residents rally to petition for lower speed limits

Concerned that new developments near their neighborhood will increase its overall density, especially on River Oaks Road, some San Marco residents hope lowering the speed limit and installing speed humps will work as a way to curb speeding and traffic volume.

Following a traffic calming community meeting May 2, Southwood Lane resident Brit Bradley took the lead in gathering the necessary signatures needed for two petitions. The first petition requests a speed limit reduction from 30 to 20 mph and the second for installation of a third speed hump on River Oaks Road, to be positioned between the two speed humps which already exist.

“The two current speed humps were installed with an inappropriate amount of space between the two, and this spacing allows drivers to have ‘jack rabbit’ starts,” said Bradley. “By installing a third speed hump we not only create an additional physical reminder for drivers to slow down, but we ultimately decrease the spacing between the two current speed humps helping to dissuade  jack rabbit starts and speeding. Coupled with the speed reduction and support from JSO during implementation, this may be enough of an inconvenience to deter transient drivers from general usage of this neighborhood road.”

The speed limit reduction will be applied to the east portion of River Oaks Road (which in turn will mirror the 20 mph as seen on the west portion), Southwood Lane, Thornwood Lane, and Fieldston Lane, according to Bradley.

Each petition requires that 75 percent of the property owners on the affected streets must be in agreement. There are about 75 properties involved, according to Bradley, who said she got involved to ensure walkability in the neighborhood.

“I think it’s important to fight for and preserve your neighborhood’s walkability, and a part of that is ensuring that our neighbors are safe to walk, ride, run, play and enjoy our neighborhood outside,” she said. “Walkability and safety go hand-in-hand. When transient drivers treat River Oaks Road like a cut through – driving recklessly and speeding – our safety is at risk and walkability is threatened. River Oaks Road is a local, neighborhood road which was never, from a infrastructure standpoint, intended to support the high volume usage that is seen with ‘cut throughs’ nor is it conducive for speeding; I believe this to be true for a majority of streets which make up San Marco.”

Bradley, who moved to the neighborhood in 2015, said the volume of traffic and speeding problems on River Oaks Road has been consistent, although the peak in volume and speeding aligns with the school year.

The town hall meeting, hosted by District 5 Councilwoman Lori Boyer, included Chris Leduc, the city’s traffic engineer, and a representative from the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. Bradley said the meeting to discuss the petitions was well attended and well received.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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