The Royal Palm Beach Village Council approved two speed indicator signs for Sparrow Drive east of Royal Palm Beach Blvd. on Thursday, June 18 after conducting a study in response to a petition circulated by residents asking for traffic calming in the area.
Although the resident who created the initial petition indicated that he would prefer speed bumps or speed tables, council members said the village would continue to study Sparrow Drive using data gathered from the radar signs.
Village Engineer Chris Marsh said that the village had conducted a study of speeders on Sparrow Drive east of Royal Palm Beach Blvd., and the problem was not excessive enough to warrant more than radar signs. He explained that residents had gotten 33 percent of signatures of the 41 residential units on Sparrow Drive, and 85 percent favored traffic calming.
“One thing to note is that there are quite a few multi-family units contiguous to Sparrow Drive, but they have parking lots in lieu of a residential driveway that abuts the roadway, so 262 units were left out of the petition process,” Marsh said.
The study found that the overall speeding on Sparrow Drive did not meet the criteria to warrant speed bumps. The engineer that conducted the study recommended that radar signs be installed eastbound and westbound on the street.
Marsh asked the council whether the study should be continued, including the 262 apartment dwellers, bearing in mind that COVID-19 precautions could make such a process difficult.
Marsh noted that the finished study found that the percentage of speeders met the threshold to warrant speed bumps in one direction, but not the other.
Seth Konigsberg who lives on Sparrow Drive and conducted the petition drive said that he believes the study was flawed because drivers were slowing down in the study area.
“As soon as they pass the radar sign, they gun it and they’re gone,” Konigsberg said. “I don’t know what the speed signs are going to do because some people just blow right by them. Personally, I am in favor of the speed humps to slow down the speeders. Maybe the cut-through traffic will be diverted and go out to Okeechobee [Blvd.] instead.”
Village Manager Ray Liggins said that all 262 apartment dwellers, as well as the residents of the 41 single-family homes would be affected if about nine speed humps are installed.
“If the council wants us to go forward with the 50 percent plus one vote, we really need to know if you want us to include those multi-family units,” Liggins said. “Our other caution is, it’s COVID-19 right now. Do you really want to have a policy that involves knocking door-to-door right now?”
Liggins recommended installing radar signs for now and seeing if that allays the situation at least temporarily, and to proceed with further study if necessary when it is safe to do so.
Village staff said that the cost to install radar signs would be about $8,000.
Councilwoman Selena Samios made a motion to approve the two signs for Sparrow Drive, which carried 5-0.