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Florida Park Drive May See Changes, from Traffic Islands to Roundabouts to Air Sensors

| February 12, 2019

air quality sensors

Air quality sensors like the one above may be installed at two locations along Florida Park Drive, one of them at Holland Park.

Palm Coast doesn’t have a Ganges river or a Lady of Lourdes, but it does have Florida Park Drive: two miles of two-laned macadam that weaves through a dense residential zone and denser complaints about traffic, noise and air quality over the years, ritualistically beguiling city council members’ search for solutions every few years. So far, solutions have been as elusive as the Ganges’ purity.

Today, it was the reconstituted Palm Coast council’s turn to deal with it (though one of its two newly elected members–Eddie Braquinho–was absent). “The struggle frankly is how do we solve a very complex issue,” Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland said.

This time, council members agreed to do more than talk.

They want to monitor air quality at Holland Park and one other location along the road, and to do so possibly indefinitely. They want to look into landscaping the road to beautify it more. And they want to study traffic calming solutions, including the possibility of speed bumps, traffic islands or traffic circles. “Landscaping and traffic calming has an opportunity to work hand in hand,” said R. Sans Lassiter, president of the Lassiter Transportation Group, one of the city’s consultants.

Not to worry: before any of that takes place, there would be neighborhood meetings to gauge public sentiment. The cost of all that is not clear: a fuller study by the city’s consultant would have cost $66,000, but the scope of work council members are looking for is narrower, so the cost will be less. It’ll be figured out in the next few weeks. The cost of air sensors is also not clear, though it’ll be in the range of $11,000 to $15,000, possibly less, depending on whether the city buys some of the equipment or uses that of a consultant.

Neither city council members nor their consultants expect to see alarming numbers in air quality, which has been a recurring concern among residents, but mostly because of an absence of fresh data. Several years ago the city found that CO2 levels on Florida Park Drive were below standard limits of air quality. Most areas in the state don’t have an air-quality problem (as opposed to, for example, Jacksonville, where idled cars increase emissions).

“We ought to measure it because I think we owe it to the community to confirm what we suspect,” Council member Bob Cuff said. “But I don’t see the need to spend a lot of money on a special purpose monitoring network just for Florida Park Drive, to measure air quality on a continuous basis.”

Florida Park Drive is unique in Palm Coast. “I’ve got developers today who are trying to build neighborhoods just like this, with very long, one to two-mile long internal roadways, with driveways every 50 to 100 feet,” Lassiter said, “and I try to tell them, don;t do that because what you’re going to end up with is residents on either end of this roadway who see all this traffic driving by that they know is not from the area, is driving through the area. That’s why in general, in urban design, you don’t put a lot of roadway on collector roads.” For the most part, that has not occurred in Palm Coast. “This one street is the exception.”

Some of the road is commercial, some residential. The city last conducted a traffic study in 2015–some crash data, speeds, traffic intensity. The council had options, including taking the study to a further phase–conducting neighborhood meetings, develop alternative routes to reduce traffic flow through Florida Park Drive, conduct further analysis of neighboring roads. The council found at the time that the road operated at an acceptable level of service, and declined to go forward with further action.

Complaints have continued. Holland said the problems in Florida Park Drive aren’t imagined. There’s no “magic solution” (Holland asked Lassiter for one, there was none), but there may be a cluster of smaller, more manageable approaches.

Council member Nick Klufas said the only solutions he sees are as “drastic” as they are unrealistic, like cutting Florida Park in half, which he also called “ridiculous.” But he suggested installing inexpensive, stationary air-monitoring equipment that could alert the city to any sudden, unhealthy spikes. Otherwise, he doesn’t see a broader solution that would be easy to implement. Council member Jack Howell concurred, along with further study.

Cuff had some interest in community meetings and suggested something that Palm Coast and Flagler County residents have generally associated with demons: traffic circles, cousins of roundabouts, which he said “would slow down traffic without necessarily impeding it too much.” To Cuff, the issue is pass-through traffic. On the other hand, traffic circles or speed-bumps would aggravate local residents. That’s why studying the matter would be worth it, he said.

“I think the real problem in the minds of the people that come before us all the time is there’s too many cars on Florida Park Drive,” Cuff said. “The only thing that’s going to alter that would be making it less convenient to drive down Florida Park Drive. In my mind that means some kind of what we could call traffic calming, but let’s call them speed bumps.”

Cuff added, irresistibly: “The only thing we can do to make the volume of traffic on Florida Park Drive lower than it is now is, pardon my French because I know this is a public meeting, piss off hundreds or thousands of people that use Florida Park Drive on a regular basis. If that results in a net improvement, I think it’s our job as a city council to consider those alternatives. But to me the only way you could consider them is with neighborhood meetings and with possible solutions or possible changes to the roadway that I’d certainly want to get professional advice on.”

Or “speed tables” such as those that regularly demolish vehicles’ suspensions in Town Center.

In that regard, Holland found the next step, with its spending, a justifiable expense, including air monitoring.

“I don’t suspect that we would see readings that are in the range where it would require immediate action or remediation,” Klufas said. “But I do think it would give the community that has spoken out about this topic a little bit more of a sense of peace, that at least we’re not spiking to levels that could be potentially dangerous for individuals that are outside breathing this air most frequently, which is probably the people that are utilizing Holland Park.”

A council decision on a clearer scope of work is expected in about three weeks.

Florida Park Drive Presentation (2019)

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20 Responses for “Florida Park Drive May See Changes, from Traffic Islands to Roundabouts to Air Sensors”

  1. deb says:

    Well its the traffic its that simple and its about the only way to get around that area. As this area grows so will the traffic. That’s the fault of the developers of Palm Coast and the current Palm Coast planners for allowing any new homes to be built.

  2. GT says:

    I think the question you need to ponder is do you want to piss off the thousand people that live on Florida Park Drive or the tens of thousands of people that use it. Think about your jobs people! The people who bought a house on that street knew how busy it was when they moved in that’s why there house cost less than other areas of the city.

  3. Lou says:

    There is nothing wrong with Florida Park Drive.
    The problem is with “straight” “I” style driveways with narrow lots.
    When people having to to back out from their driway, even at 30m/hr traffic speed, they have trouble, actually they represent traffic hazard.
    I had personally had to break very hard to avoid collision with cars backing out to Florida Park Drive.

  4. PeachesMcGee says:

    Other drivers absolutely hate it when you drive the posted 30 mph on Florida Park Drive. They hate it even more when I give them the fickle finger of fate.

    I can relate to the neighborhood concerns. It’s only a matter of time before someone is maimed or killed from an errant driver.

  5. palmcoaster says:

    so far we have good news after the traffic and emissions invited by staff and interim manager Falgout spoke o mayor Holland wisely opted for the less costly and probably more effective individual emissions monitoring equipment also councilman Cuff positive suggestions addressing the heavy traffic and what could work best. Mayor and council instructed the manager to research the potential solutions including “the needed” landscaping also for Florida Park Drive and come up with cost, etc.
    Mayor also stressed the need to start with the widening of Old Kings Road as will probably help to reduce some of the 8,000 cars a day off Florida Park Drive once completed. She believes completion will take 6 years and will take face I, II and III. With face I. ready to go. Looks like finally we got Old Palm Coast in our city revitalization program as well. Something to appreciate to our city council and mayor today!

  6. worried grandma says:

    You can’t be serious, speed bumps, traffic circles, better landscaping???? They finally got sidewalks, now you’re gonna add landscaping. Use your heads people, if you do the speed limit, drive with consideration for the other driver and people backing out of their driveways, you won’t have half these problems. Another “study”???? Let’s enforce the speed limit, make it a radar trap, watch how fast people learn how to slow down.

  7. Easy Fix says:

    Have the traffic unit ticket people who drive over the limit. Not just for a weekend, but continuously. That’s their job and they are not doing it.

  8. jg says:

    the best solution would be limit traffic, by lowering the speed limit to 20mph and install speed bumps – to make it undesirable for some motorist to travel. Then most likely only residents who live in this area would prefer Florida Park Drive. I know i would find a alternate route to travel.

  9. Instigator says:

    Make FPD ONE WAY going South . Triple fines for speeding. Enforce it. Problem solved

  10. Bill says:

    So people who bought a home on florida park (excluding original home owners) are mad at ??? for all the traffic on a main rout of trafic flow. They should find a mirror to see who is at fault in their situation. I do agree that the flow of trafic is way to FAST. As another said if you drive the speed LIMIT you are looked at as in the wrong. IMO more traffic patroles to snag those going like hell and maybe speed bumps or a 4 way stop or two along the road.

  11. SC says:

    For once the City Council is making the focus on the people that live on FL PK DR. Traffic noise/fumes/dust is hazardous to the health of residents – many scientific studies to back that up. Those that use FL PK DR as a thoroughfare will never know the issues because they drive thru leaving their noise, fumes, and dust behind for others to deal with. The homes are 60 feet from the roadway – 8,000+ car/per day make it very noisy – if interested read how being exposed to constant noise can affect you. What many fail to realize this is a residential neighborhood being used to exchange traffic between two parkways when there two non-residential alternative routes – Old Kings Road and Palm Coast Parkway & Palm Harbor Parkway intersection. To know more about the harm to health read:

  12. Dave says:

    The only people complaining about Florida Park Drive are the ones who live on it, which is minuscule compared to amount that use it. The people who live there knew the situation when they bought their homes. That’s why those homes are worth less and they paid less, you get what you pay for and everyone else shouldn’t have to suffer because a few dont want to deal with the situation they put themselves in.

  13. palmcoaster says:

    Now our new city council with current Mayor Holland seem to have turned into the positive way for the Florida Park Drive residents concerns finally and we all appreciate it. Anyway lets do not forget that they have pleaded with past Mayor and councils since at least 2010 to no avail for their concerns carefully detailed here for all to read:

  14. palmcoaster says:

    Just a one minute video of the Florida Park Drive residents mayhem traffic daily: So please lets resolve it and thank you in advance to our new council and Mayor searching for a prompt and sure solution.

  15. atilla says:

    Most of the speeders live on Florida Park Dr.

  16. SB says:

    I live a block off of Florida Park Dr. as do hundreds if not thousands of residents so Florida park is our way in and out of our neighborhoods. I feel for the people that live on Florida park Dr. but as other comments said they knew what they were getting into when they moved there. But speed bumps which ruins peoples cars are not the answer just to deter people from going down that street because in the end those of us who live there still half to go up down that street. Also roundabouts are a pain in the neck and would require you to widen the street and cut into peoples property. Good luck with that!!! Problem #1 Florida Park drive is used more frequently by those who don’t live there because it’s the shortest distance between Palm Coast Pkwy and Palm Harbor. Problem # 2 who thought it was a good idea to let kids off and on the bus on Florida Park Dr. that creates traffic and hazards to the children especially when they let them off and pick them up on the side with no sidewalks. Solve those 2 problems and you will have a start.

  17. just a thought says:

    Eliminate truck traffic also. NO need for a truck to go down that road to get to Palm Harbor or Palm Coast Parkway. Only Local deliveries should be allowed.

  18. palmcoaster says:

    This is what should be off Florida Park Drive by “No Truck Road” or similar.

  19. palmcoaster says:

    @SB: when the residents bought from ITT in Florida Park Drive was a totally different situation and the Matanzas access to I-95 didn’t exist. After 2000 FPD was reclassisfied as a mayor road in order to allow the new developments of Tidelands and all those new intracoastal front projects to be built and traffic use of FPD incorrectly approved before they widen Old Kings Road. So please do not blame those FPD residents that “they knew were they were buying” as that was not the original ITT plan when they bought there. You sound like a newcomer here.
    Right now they are about to start the phase one of 3 in the 6 years work for the widening of Old Kings Road way overdue. They need now to stop the thru trucks and school buses in FPD and lower its speed limit in order to calm the traffic and also soon do the proper landscaping including litter receptacles along its 2 miles. And yes if there are 1,000 resident front to FDPD they do also have rights as they traffic noise danger and contamination they endure is inhumane.

  20. Shark says:

    I don’t use this road because of all the rental shacks – with every code violation on the books – a total eyesore.
    Nothing the town can do will beautify this area. What about the air quality along I- 95?

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