Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

State Looks at Putting Brakes on Beach Blvd. Development Endangers 55 MPH Stretch of Road

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

State Looks at Putting Brakes on Beach Blvd. Development Endangers 55 MPH Stretch of Road

Article excerpt

As businesses pop up along Beach Boulevard, state transportation engineers are asking whether it's time to slow down drivers on the last stretch of Beach where the speed limit is 55 mph.

This week, the Florida Department of Transportation began a review of whether the 55 mph speed limit on a 2.5-mile stretch of Beach Boulevard -- from just west of Kernan Boulevard to just west of San Pablo Road -- is too high in light of advancing suburban growth.

The state is expected to make a decision this month on whether the speed limit should drop to 45 mph on all, some or none of that part of Beach.

Drivers like Abi Behar, who said she goes out of her way to avoid Beach Boulevard, want the speed limit lowered.

"When there is bad weather out there, it's very nerve-wracking," she said. "The only time I think it's somewhat OK is maybe on a Sunday afternoon."

At other times, she said, drivers "are going too fast, the [traffic] lights are changing, and traffic is coming from so many different directions."

But Denise Jacques, who drives daily on Beach, said that if the state lowers the speed limit, it will just create a speed trap because drivers feel comfortable with the 55 mph zone.

"People will just get slammed with tickets," she said, adding that she does not feel unsafe driving at 55.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, citing concerns that the 55 mph limit is too high, asked the state to conduct the study. City Councilwoman Elaine Brown also said she favors a review of the speed limit because of the development that is headed Beach Boulevard's way.

Elsewhere on Beach Boulevard, which runs from downtown to Jacksonville Beach, the speed limits range from 35 mph to 45 mph as Beach runs through areas that are thick with shopping centers and cross streets.

The 55 mph zone contains some of that development near Beach's intersections with Kernan Boulevard and San Pablo Road. …

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