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Speed humps forgone in favor of patrols

Traffic details will monitor Memory Lane and issue tickets to speeders. The effort will be analyzed at another public hearing in six months.

By EVE LEBERSON

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 4, 2001


LUTZ -- Memory Lane won't be getting speed humps, at least for now.

The decision was made at a public meeting at Nye Park on Wednesday night after more than 35 neighborhood residents voiced concerns about heavy traffic and excessive speeds on the road. They met with a hearing officer for the residential traffic-calming program, established by the county commission to address residential traffic problems.

Last year, five Memory Lane residents asked the county to install a traffic-calming device to slow speeding vehicles on the narrow two-lane road. A 24-hour traffic study conducted by the county in June found that more than half of the 382 vehicles traveling Memory exceeded the 20-mph speed limit.

According to hearing officer Jerry Dabkowski, most of the speeding offenses occurred along the western portion of the street, just before the road sharply turns south. Motorists also use the tree-shaded road to bypass rush-hour backup at the Hanna and Sunset roads stop sign, he said.

"Our road is not designed to handle the traffic it has," said Memory Lane resident James Peters.

At the hearing, Dabkowski offered several possible solutions, including installing speed humps, making Memory Lane a one-way street, or both.

Several residents living along the western straight segment of Memory Lane supported using calming devices.

However, residents living along the curvy and eastern portions of the road, as well as nearby residents who use Memory Lane daily, balked at the idea, pointing out that calming devices might divert traffic onto other nearby streets, such as Lakeshore Drive and Yocam Avenue.

"There is a speed problem on Memory Lane," said Lakeshore Drive resident Raymond Kelly. "The solution is law enforcement. We'd like our traffic laws enforced."

Most residents at the meeting agreed.

Dabkowski said that traffic details will patrol the area for a few weeks. He recommended improving the shoulder areas where the street curves.

In six months, the county will schedule another hearing so Dabkowski and residents can analyze the enforcement strategy and decide whether to take matters further.

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