tampabay.com

Wayward sign would speed things up

By CHUIN-WEI YAP
Published April 21, 2007


LAND O'LAKES - About a month ago, Gary DePury woke up and saw a work crew putting a speed limit sign outside his home in Asbel Creek.

He has three young kids and he worries for their safety playing near that intersection of Cypress Bay Parkway and Bulloch Boulevard, even if it is just a quiet junction in the middle of a quiet subdivision.

So he was pleased about the speed limit sign - until he saw the number on it.

"I saw them putting it in, but I only saw the back of the sign at the time," he said.

His neighbor, Jonathan Greene, told him later that day that the sign read 45 mph.

They were both stunned.

Asbel Creek, a 212-acre development barely a year old, sits just off U.S. 41 and south of State Road 52. It was built by a variety of builders, including Standard Pacific and Centex Homes.

Everywhere else inside the 450-home community, the speed limits are more typical of residential neighborhoods: 30 mph, 20 mph, 15 mph.

Except for outside DePury's home.

"That intersection is not particularly well lit," Greene said. "It's reckless if it's a point of public policy."

So off they went, trying to get something done about it.

What unfolded was a familiar story of two well-intentioned citizens lost in the maze of private and public bureaucracies, and finding little help.

About two weeks ago, DePury called the property managers, Green Acre Properties of Tampa.

No reply.

Thursday, the Pasco Times left a message for Jim Smith, Green Acre's manager. No reply.

Greene and DePury's neighborhood was built by Standard Pacific of Tampa. David Pelletz, the company's Tampa president, did not reply to a message from the Times for comment.

Kris Carson, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, said the Asbel Creek issue was not a matter of state jurisdiction.

Greene tried county offices, but he didn't know where to start.

"I didn't even get past the first layer of secretaries," he said.

Robert Reck, the county's traffic operations manager, e-mailed the Pasco Times Friday to say that the road's design engineers, Kimley-Horne & Associates, had been told to correct the error.

Reck said speed limits are "determined by road classification and design in accordance with the state's speed zoning manual and Florida Statute 316."

He did not respond to questions on how the 45 mph sign will be changed.

Florida statutes say that unless the county commission votes to change it, "the maximum speed on any county-maintained road is ... In any business or residence district, 30 miles per hour in the daytime or nighttime," with a provision that it can be set at 25 in residential districts.

DePury hopes that his three kids, Tanner, 8, Shealyn, 7, and Jillian, 4, may now have a safer place to play.

Chuin-Wei Yap can be reached at 813 909-4613 or cyap@sptimes.com.