The Loxahatchee Groves Town Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday, July 20 to an ordinance that would set the speed limit at 25 miles per hour on all town roads, except Southern and Okeechobee boulevards.
Mayor Robert Shorr asked if Folsom Road was included in the ordinance.
“Didn’t we agree that the speed limit there should remain 30 [mph]?” Shorr asked.
Town Attorney Elizabeth Lenihan explained that Folsom Road is a county road. “If it’s a county road, then this wouldn’t apply,” Lenihan said.
Councilwoman Phillis Maniglia said she felt Folsom Road should be considered for the 25-mph speed limit.
“I get a lot of complaints that people cannot get out on that road,” Maniglia said. “I think we should talk about it and see if there’s any public comments.”
Former Councilman Todd McLendon said he felt enacting the ordinance would be a waste of money.
“If you take these lettered roads like B Road, the speed limit is 30, and people are doing 60,” McLendon said. “Just because you change it to 25, they’re still going to be doing 60.”
He added that it would cost a lot of money to implement the ordinance.
“You’ve got to get the engineer to look at it, make sure the signs are the appropriate height, distance, how far they are from the road — big expense, engineering-wise,” he said.
Resident Mary McNicholas said she felt anything the town could do to reduce speeds in the community would help. She favored reducing the speed limit on Folsom Road to 25 mph.
“I’m not a fan of driving 25 miles an hour, but as far as the length of the road, why shouldn’t it be treated the same as your other north/south roads?” she asked.
Maniglia said she would like a determination whether the town has jurisdiction over Folsom Road, and Lenihan said she would have that information in time for second reading of the ordinance.
Maniglia also asked who would get the money from speeding tickets, and Town Manager Jamie Titcomb said the town gets a minimal return on them in accordance with state statutes. “It is not a revenue source and is not intended to be,” Titcomb said.
Councilwoman Marianne Miles questioned the enforceability of a 25-mph speed limit.
“I don’t need to remind the council that we have one police officer on at a time,” Miles said. “Policing 25-mile-an-hour roads and making that somewhat of a priority or an issue when you can’t control the speeding… and if they’re doing it, they’re not doing it but 5 miles an hour over, so to change the signage from 30 to 25, this was also discussed before. We were going to pave the roads that we’re paving and put speed humps on the roads. You’re going to start wrecking your car if you start going over these paved roads with speed humps 30 or 35 miles an hour.”
Miles added that she had talked to people on Folsom Road who do not want the speed limit reduced.
“I think it’s a waste of money, a waste of time,” she said. “Our police have better things to do than to drive down a road… After these speed humps go down the road, I don’t think they’re going to be going much faster than 25 or 30. If they can go over 30 miles an hour over these speed humps, God bless them.”
Miles also raised a concern that reducing the speed limit would put pressure on the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office to increase the cost of its contract with the town.
Maniglia pointed out that there are no guardrails separating the town roads from the canals.
“I feel dropping it to 25 is telling people to slow down, we have no guard rails,” she said. “I think it’s great for the town’s liability.”
Maniglia made a motion to approve the first reading of the ordinance, which carried 4-1 with Miles dissenting.