The previous time Matanzas High School student Kobi Kane was before a local government board was as a student school board member, sitting through a four-hour workshop a month ago. When she finally got a chance to speak, she described how the loss of fellow-student Michelle Taylor to a collision with a dark on a dark Palm Coast street the previous week had affected her school, and how it had clearly affected her: she broke down and wept.
Kane did not leave it at that. In addition to the many responsibilities of a top-achieving senior, she’s been part of an effort to get something done about more street lights and more sidewalks in Palm Coast. This evening, she appeared before the Palm Coast City Council with fellow-student Michael Delgado to present the Matanzas School Safety Committee’s research, analysis and requests to the council for some action. The research included a survey the team conducted online, and facts about traffic fatalities and injuries involving pedestrians
“After a traumatic and recurring increase in traffic related injuries and fatalities in Palm Coast, it became necessary to take action,” Delgado said, alluding to the Taylor fatality, and likely that of Kelvin Smith, the 16-year-old student killed weeks earlier on a dark section of Old Kings Road by a hit-and-run driver, as Smith rode his bike.
“We wish to emphasize the urgency of the insufficient lighting on streets, sidewalks for pedestrians, and knowledge of traffic safety,” Delgado continued. “These issues should be a concern for all citizens of Palm Coast, and they need to be prioritized.”
“That means lighting and sidewalks are very, very much needed,” Kane added.
The students’ safety committee was formed in March, meeting twice a week, drafting a petition publicly accessible online, along with an open-ended online survey, to which some 100 people responded. Some responded with the word “everywhere.” Lakeview Boulevard, where Taylor was killed, has stood out for its darkness in the students’ research.
The committee members asked for a review of all streets with bus stops or places with heavy foot traffics. They asked for pathways and bike paths along more roads, among them Old Kings Road, “so cyclists and pedestrians aren’t always in a dangerous position when traveling.” And they asked the council to consider a traffic-awareness education program. (A team of Future Problem Solvers last year produced a video and a presentation called “Street Talk” geared at younger students along the same lines, emphasizing bike and pedestrian safety.)
“For our suggested next step I guess we would probably should have began with the approval and support from the council as we move forward, and we would also like to collaborate with you as well,” Kane said, with a “dependable” timeline enabling students, City Hall and the public to review the plan. “We would like to remain involved and have as much input as possible, because we believe as citizens we should all have a voice.”
The students had during their weeks of research approached City Manager Jim Landon about their concerns and their plan to make a difference regarding street safety in the city, including the involvement of the council. This evening’s presentation was their latest, but by no means last, step.
“This could not have happened without this immediate reaction to a very unfortunate incident that took place in our community,” Mayor Milissa Holland said, “and I really want to thank you for your advocacy and your approach to this. I know this council has taken your words very seriously.” She said the city has already taken steps with its continuous lighting program designed to illuminate currently dark streets. The program was halted for years, ostensibly because of the economic downturn (though the city has spent lavishly on beautification through those years).
While no actual lights are going up as part of the program just yet, the city is starting with the hiring of an engineer for that program ahead of designing the approach and prioritizing streets.
The students acknowledged the resumption of the program, but stressed that much else needs to be done. “We want to again point out the urgency of the situation,” Delgado concluded to the council, again
Concerned Citizen says
Glad to see some interest on this topic. And from our youth no less !!
It’s really a shame when you approach City Center and City Hall and see the parking lot lit up like an Airport Runway. I hate to see the bill from all of those sodium lights burning.
Why not distribute some of that lighting around Palm Coast and make our streets safer? Oh wait priorities. That’s right..
by the time new lights and walks are installed, those students’ grandkids will walk safely to school.
What about us in flagler beach ?
Good job, kids! So proud of you!
I can recall that several years back the issue of street lights at bus stops and other places, plus easy to read at night street signs was a subject of discussion for awhile. The street signs were changed so they could be more easily read and some lighting was installed. Then more talk about putting more lighting on some of the residential streets but, believe it or not, people didn’t want street lights in their neighborhood because they liked looking up at the darkness and seeing the stars! So, eventually the idea all went away.
I’m glad some of the young people of this county are taking a stand and trying to do something to correct the situation and hope they have great success, because better lighting is needed in certain places. I hope the city manager and new mayor look at this matter seriously and figure out something.
To the involved students, keep up the good work and perserverence. Perhaps these unfortunate deaths will not have been in vain.
Kobi Kane, be prepared to learn what lip service is when dealing with politicians, or municipality’s. You’re going to get a lot of if throughout life.
Kobi Kane, et al: Great work. May it become the start of much more in the future.
Here’s some inspiration (and maybe a suggestion too) about engagement with gobment AND bidness (sic) since so-called adults love to confuse the two.
I believe a great man (try the links) who started out as a child too – in his words, “…a little jug-eared kid…” – would highly approve of you and your fellow students
There is enough blame to go around for everyone when it comes to the horrible traffic situation in Palm Coast. It is quite perplexing how “they” have managed to entirely screw up the traffic situation at Matanzas High School in the past 2 years. The most recent change is having some lady sit in a golf cart to ensure parents won’t use a turn out to turn around to get out of the parking lot. What this means is now 100% of the cars using that side entrance get to go through the student parking lot…with unaware children running through the parking lot. Every day, a kid almost gets hit in the student parking lot. Also how much do they pay that lady to sit in the golf cart? Why does a student have to get hit…and possibly killed…in the student parking lot, before the folks in charge stop and think about how much they’ve screwed up the traffic at Matanzas? Who can be held accountable for this?
In any case, it’s sad Michelle Taylor had to die, and I wasn’t there so I don’t know the exact details. But I do know that Palm Coast is the only community I have ever lived in where they do not have sidewalks for the children in the residential neighborhoods. Doesn’t matter if it is the A, B, C, etc. section, there are no sidewalks for the children.
When you combine that with the unaccountability that is instilled in this generation’s children, it spells disaster. The kids…both middle school and high school students, have no clue how to walk down a street without sidewalks, and to be safe at the same time. Especially in the B section, there are many times 15 kids all spread out across the street, while cars are driving both ways, trying to weave in and out of the children. It is always a relief to get past the children without hitting any of them.
While it would be nice to be dependent upon the government to protect us, as a parent, all you can really do is teach your children how to walk safely on streets with no sidewalks and heavy traffic. The children should be constantly vigilant, and should constantly be looking over their shoulders, and should make it a habit to simply step off the road when cars are coming. It seems like some children want to stand their ground…and walk down the middle of the street, forcing the cars to drive off the opposite side of the road to get around them. It is only a matter of time before more children die in Palm Coast due to the lack of sidewalks and the lack of any common sense on their end.
yes the lip service is redundant. They will hire an outside firm throw away another 100,000. at a study that will sit for 5 plus years. But when its something they want like the new city hall , look how fast they move. I watch the James Holland Park everyday, there is little to no activity going on over there. . The new construction firm must be on a long ass lunch break 2 1/2 years and still not done. I think its a money scheme. Somebodies pockets are getting greased . And how come its always firms outside city limits. Or construction companies from outside the area??? Harder to trace the deception. So disgusted.. Put the study money into installing lights Palm Coast and stop wasting our tax dollars.
Good luck kids. In the past requests for street lights, sidewalks and storm sewers have fallen on deaf ears. Lighting is probably the easiest fix. Now sidewalks are a problem due to those swales. There is no place for sidewalks on most streets due to open drainage ditches. However, the snakes, coons and armadillos just love those open ditches.
Did I miss the other part “dark on a dark” I see where they went after the Lights, and did a good job, but what about the rest of the story? The other part. Are they going against the kids not to where black at night, use reflector belts, and flashlights when walking at night?
From the article:
“We wish to emphasize the urgency of the insufficient lighting on streets, sidewalks for pedestrians, and knowledge of traffic safety,” Delgado continued. ”
Sounds to me like that will be addressed, since it was noted. It doesn’t go into detail about “the rest of the story” in *this* article because *this* article isn’t about “the gory details” nor is it about trying to blame victims. WHY must someone always be sure to show up shaking their little Nanny Fingers to remind us that hey, those young girls must have really, truly, been at fault because they were wearing dark clothes when a drunk person behind the wheel of a car hit them, and why are YOUR tax dollars paying to fix THAT?.
This storyline is about “going against” a local government that falls all over itself to beautify highway medians at 3am with reclaimed water that will never, ever beautify the concrete being watered (instead of the vegetation) and at the same time, neglects to provide BASIC STREET LIGHTING to its own citizens in its own neighborhoods. Can we get our priorities straight, please?