Florida Park Drive, the busiest residential street in Palm Coast, is again baffling city council members, who are searching for solutions to reduce traffic, noise and pollution along the two-mile road in the heart of the city’s F and C Sections.
One of the problems is actually not a lack of ideas, but resistance over the years from the city administration to implement some of the ideas presented previously: three years ago Council member Heidi Shipley proposed that the road be resurfaced with a kind of asphalt that absorbs noise. City Manager Jim Landon, who doesn’t like Shipley—the feeling is mutual—ignored her. She also proposed a form of vegetative beautification along the road that could help with noise and pollution. That, too, got ignored until it ended up on a goal-setting list the council discussed today.
At a workshop today, Shipley floated yet another proposal: stop signs along Florida Park Drive to reduce “cut-throughs,” meaning traffic from drivers who use Florida Park Drive as a short-cut across town.
“When I was up in Massachusetts we had a road we did the same thing, we cut down this road, everyone used to cut down the road,” Shipley said. “Last time I was up there it was stop signs put up, so I made a conscious decision not to go down that road anymore because I knew I had to stop at every stop sign. I think the same thing would work there. It’s the first time that a group of people actually agreed that this was something they thought would work, with the stop signs.” She proposed piloting the idea with one or two stop signs.
After some discussion, Landon put up his own stop sign to the proposal, saying such signs call for technical requirements just as traffic lights do. Studies must be conducted. If stop signs are put up without being warranted and crashes result, then the city would be liable, he said. “Putting up stop signs where they don’t belong actually creates other issues as far as safety too,” Landon said. “People don’t anticipate it—the car or pedestrian that’s expecting that car to stop but they don’t, that’s where you get t-bones and those types of things. There has to be some consistency and some ways of doing this correctly so you don’t create unintended consequences, and that’s why you have traffic engineers that would have to look at it.”
To council members Nick Klufas and Bob Cuff, adding stop signs would increase stop-and-go traffic, which increases pollution.
“I like the concept but I think Nick’s concerns are well-placed,” Cuff said, though he said he wouldn’t be opposed to try it. But two stop signs wouldn’t be enough to deter traffic, he said. “IT’s a long thru-road that connects two other thru-roads, and serves a lot of residential property in Palm Coast, and I think we do need to be careful that if we put up enough stop signs on it, to have the impact on the traffic numbers, the 8,600 cars a day that the DOT says uses that, that we are going to find—and we need to be sensitive to and measure periodically—the levels of pollution from emissions, which is the other thing that we keep hearing, that if we don’t do something, we’re killing the people who live on Florida Park Drive.”
The traffic data was actually collected by the city three years ago. That data went a long way to de-mystify a lot of misconceptions about the road, including perceptions that many people break the speed limit there. They don’t: the study found that while heaviest average daily traffic peaks at 8,200 vehicles in the stretch from Farragut Drive to Palm Coast Parkway, truck traffic tops off at 2 percent, and between 50 to 64 percent of vehicles go the speed limit. Almost 6 percent of traffic goes 40 mph or faster on the Farragut Drive-Palm Coast Parkway stretch, but overall, fewer than 5 percent of drivers exceed 40 mph.
The traffic study also showed one other thing that residents along the road don’t agree with: that there’s no traffic issue on the road. It’s not anywhere near capacity. An air-quality study had concluded there is no pollution problem along the road.
That study dampened the council’s eagerness for any major changes in 2015. That year the council also could have a approved a more in-depth study of traffic patterns, but it would have cost about $42,000.
Landon today said the council went against approval. That was not at all accurate. (An earlier version of this story was also inaccurate: it incorrectly reported that the vote for a further study had failed.)
What he didn’t say is that he had explicitly discouraged the council to spend the money in 2015: “We’re saying spending an additional $40,000, we don’t think you’re going to solve the problem with that,” he told the council in a workshop at the time, when Shipley and Steven Nobile were part of the board.
But when it came time for the council to vote on whether to approve a so-called “phase two study” at a June 16, 2015 council meeting, the council explicitly voted to consider that once three other infrastructure projects were completed. In other words, the council intended only to postpone the Lassiter study, not scrap it. Those projects (the Island Walk Shopping Center, the Holland Park renovation and the Matanzas Woods Interchange projects) were all completed by last year. But the phase two study was never reconsidered in accordance with the council’s wishes.
Not only did Landon inaccurately reflect the vote from 2015, he did not follow through on the council’s vote, which was unanimous. It is only the latest of numerous mis-characterizations and false recollections by the manager of past council votes, direction and discussions.
The memory of repeated proposals that went nowhere seemed to rankle Nobile today. “We’ve come up with more things than I can shake a stick at, and none of them get done, and it appears that it doesn’t get done because we don’t want to do it, not because it can’t, or it shouldn’t,” Nobile said, leaving no doubt as to who in his view was to blame: “These items were passed up to administration and never came back with any options that said we can do this, or we can’t do this.”
After a few testy exchanges with Mayor Milissa Holland—whom Nobile interrupted almost every time she spoke on the matter—Nobile and Holland agreed they were on the same page: they want proposals presented, analyzed and at least tried. “I’m not opposed to ideas of anybody,” the mayor said, as long as the proposals are carefully studied.
But it was Cuff who, taking a more assertive role on the issue and clearly leaving no room for doubt as to where the greater majority of the council stood on the matter, something had to be done. “We do have to look at a comprehensive approach, I think we have to do something,” Cuff said, “at least make an honest evaluation and decide if that’s something we can do, if it does, we need to measure it and see if it makes the problem better or if it makes it worse.”
To which Landon provided a lukewarm concession: “We can dust off the proposal we’ve presented to city council a few years ago,” he said of the $42,000 study proposed at the time by Lassiter Transportation Group. “City council at the time rejected the proposal and said they would not want to pursue that because of the cost. So if you want to, I have to go back to that engineering firm, make sure they’d still honor that cost, but we’ve actually had that type of proposal in the past. That’s what you want to do, then we could dust that off. I don’t know, we may have to go back out and get requests for proposal if they won’t honor it, I’m not sure.”
“I don’t want something that’s old and rejected,” Nobile said.
The council will vote next week on a refreshed proposal to try various options along the road.
simple solution Old Kings two lanes each way w/ center median turn lanes..Fl Pk dr ONE WAY ONE LANE
I would say one way south with stop signs but leave that to the city
Landon needs to go. He is unelected and wasting our time and money. Would rather pay for a real mayor.
Take some of Landon’s and his pal’s pay and install large speed bumps!
Peaches McGee says
The city has grown 10%+ since the old proposal. New data is needed. Way more than 6% of the traffic goes 10+mph over the limit.
The road and sidewalk area still floods if a spit of rain comes down nearest Holland Park after over a decade of inaction by the city. Perhaps the Mr. Nobile might consider renaming Florida Park Drive, Stormy Daniels causeway?
John dolan esq. says
Holland and Nobile know as much about traffic flow and road engineering as I do. Nothing!
The road is fine, no one ever gets hit by cars, it’s only the residence complaint but they are the ones who bought property on a very busy road, deal with it, no one uses Florida park as a cut threw, it is the threw way to go. Always has been, home owners will always find something to co ml plain about.
I have been saying for the longest time, Landon is an embarrassment to Palm Coast and needs to be fired along with anyone on the council who supports him.
Landon is as hazardous as Coffey…both need to go. We do not need these two men on the tax payers payroll. If the county commissioners and city council members don’t do their job and get rid of them (for many reasons) they need to be held accountable. When the shit hits the fan, the commission and council members should be held personally responsible for knowing removal of these individuals is in order and they allowed them to remain on the payroll.
Martin poposki says
Jesus Christ . Another problem that arises .
What did this city think when back a couple years ago
They named it the largest growing city in Florida .
These roads are getting way to over croweded .
Ah just declare Eminent Domain., buy the properties, bulldoze everything down and make 4 lanes. Go for the gusto.
Martin poposki says
These roads are getting way over crowded
Time for a plan and some action
Landon, please go already!
ITT designated streets with “DRIVE” as connecting roads. As the way rhe “C” Section built out the drive is used more. So wwhat is new?
Property owners payed reduced price for the “Drive” propert and now they want to increase property values.
You got what you paid for.
Florida Park Drive has several problems; high fast traffic and no turn lanes, flooding specially by Holland Park and the huge blight as needs landscape between sidewalk and road curve as when the sidewalk was built landscape was not installed. In spite the non common sense allegation of the mayor concerned about spending public funds on landscape in private properties. How come she never questions the millions spent to benefit Town Center Developers and the landscape leading to Town Center. Just one lot in the corner of Rte 100 and Boulder Rock, city used our taxes to pay 1,300,00 for it and sold it to the Wawa Orlando developer for 800,000 in the name of the commercial and sales tax benefit to be gain …in many years..if ever. In this year plan as is usual more of our taxes emmarked for Town Center. Enough is enough mayor, Florida Park Drive needs landscape and our infrastructure, drainage caving in and sewer north of Palm Coast Parkway need repair, remodeling and our streets need landscape other than muddy littered, overgrown weeds right of ways for the joy of our eyes. Our honorable mayor also opposes along with the manager the requested streets “No Litter 500 Fine” signs in the several areas needed, because add to signs clutter. Better enforced signs that litter allover. Mr Nobile is correct when said Florida Park Drive has been brought by the residents taxpayers to council and administrators for years and nothing is done based in unreasonable excuses because city manager fail us. Landscape the road to erase the blight other that spending our taxes in more expansion and TC. The old Palm Coast homeowners also pay taxes and deserve the services they pay for and are not being rendered. We are not requesting anymore than what belongs to us but is dilapidated in new infrastructure to satisfy developers new plans, while the Old Palm Coast is neglected.
The idiots that designed the road system here have to be the parents of the idiots that design parking lots these days. Solution? Hire someone without a degree….booksmart people are so dumb!
Let’s have another company come in and have them do some research for around 100, 000.00$ plus like that stupid sign on 95 that was proposed . Maybe one of the politicians , (AKA) as idiots , get one of their contacts that do this kind of research in to the placement of a Stop Sign and maybe get a kickback. It also seems that every time something needs to be done the insurance company comes into the conversation, they control the city more than the citizens and politicians, called them and let them decide. Nothing but a big joke here and it’s not funny anymore
I drive on Florida Park Drive daily and the traffic is never a problem. I think we have people who live on this street that finally figured out why they got they got a good deal on their house when they bought it. If you block off this street all you are going to do is cause traffic to go though the F section on streets like Fleetwood that
have kids playing and cause a bigger problem that you already have. Spending thousands of dollars of tax payers money to put a band-aid on this just to please a few people that live on this street is stupid.
Several problems affect Florida Park Drive; high fast traffic and no turn lanes, flooding specially by Holland Park and the huge blight as needs landscape between sidewalk and road curve as when the sidewalk was built, landscape was not installed. In spite the non common sense allegation of the mayor concerned about spending public funds on landscape in private properties. How come she never questions the millions spent to benefit Town Center Developers and the landscape leading to Town Center. Just one lot in the corner of Rte 100 and Boulder Rock, city used our taxes to pay 1,300,000 for it and sold it to the Wawa Orlando developer for 800,000 in the name of the commercial and sales tax benefit to be gain …in many years..if ever. In this year plan as is usual more of our taxes enmarked for Town Center. Enough is enough, Florida Park Drive needs landscape and our infrastructure, drainage caving in and sewer north of Palm Coast Parkway need repair, remodeling and our streets need landscape other than muddy littered, overgrown weeds right of ways for the joy of our eyes. Our honorable mayor also opposes along with the manager the requested streets “No Litter 500 Fine” signs in the several areas needed, because add to signs clutter. Better enforcement signs than litter allover. Mr Nobile is correct when said Florida Park Drive has been brought by the residents taxpayers to council and administrators for years and nothing is done based in unreasonable excuses because city manager fail us. Landscape the road to erase the blight other that spending our taxes in more expansion and TC. The old Palm Coast homeowners also pay taxes and deserve the services they pay for and are not being rendered. We are not requesting anymore than what belongs to us but is dilapidated in new infrastructure to satisfy developers new plans, while the Old Palm Coast is neglected.
Born and Raised Here says
These were planned through ways, that were developed to handle traffic flow based on the population growth of Palm Coast. You can not close down access of Florida Park Drive without building another through way. The homeowners should have realize this before moving to this area.
Bernie 2020 says
If you live on a busy road this is what happens. Why are we wasting time trying to fix a non issue? We need to consider putting up more street lights on major roads.
@Dave Stole the words right out of my mouth!!! Its not a cut thru. Its the way home. Whose fault is it people decided to move/buy on that street. Even before the population boom, it was evident that fl pk dr was going to be exactly what it is. And what kind of vegetation reduces sound and not impede vehicles backing out of driveways? A wall of bushes the length of the street either right next to the road, or in residents yards out of the right-of-way? Come on.
Yes, Levitt & I.T.T. offered each prospective buyer a ‘ Map ‘ , we refer to it as a distances MAP. They were distributed by the Millions to each prospective buyer and also distributed nationwide and on three Continents of the World. The purpose was to have prospective buyers make informed location choices for their chosen / prospective lot. Also, each Community of Palm Coast had ‘Sections’ each with a veried ‘ build out date again, enabling prospective buyers to choose / select a parcel according to their specific temporal need.
I am Stewards of these MAPS and they can be seen at http://palmcoastcorehomes.tripod.com and in the HEADER seek MAPS.
FL park resident says
I think it’s bullcrap how they say people don’t go over the speed limit! I’ve lived on Florida park for 16 years and I constantly see people speeding down the street! Hell yesterday I saw a girl going 60+ I had to yell at her to slow down! And a few weeks before that I had to call the police for a guy going 60+ passing me and almost killing someone! Plus not to mention the traffic I hear all night, people with loud music blasting, I have a man hole cover in front of my house that whenever someone drives over it, it makes a loud noise. I think they honestly should try something to slow down the traffic on this street, I watched my sister and a neighborhood kid get hit by a car right in front of my house because there is way too much traffic and no one pays attention!
Florida Park Drive is the easiest and fastest connection to Palm Harbor Pkwy. Old Kings is west of there and would cause lots of traffic East through many smaller neighborhoods.
Do not waste our taxpayer dollars to appease a few home owners who no longer like the lot they purchased , Boo hoo, next time don’t build your house on a main road
Another meeting, another Study.
A sign of a commission who is out of touch and can’t face the real issues. This is being used as a distractor……time for all of them to be voted out of office…..lets start in 2018 before our taxes go so high that we can’t afford to live here. A forensic audit needs to be done on this city, and now!
Two words….SPEED BUMPS
Stops signs on a 30MPH road are a perfect solution. And it sure cannot cause bigger issues than those red light cameras they put up for tax money. Also eliminate ALL TRUCK DELIVERY for stops no on Florida Park. With the new exit, old kings connection and Palm Harbor there is no need for trucks to go down that road as a thru way.
Florida park dr. is a main road and major threw way in Palm coast. Why anyone has built a home there is beyond me but nothing has changed so I don’t see a need for this waste of time