If there is only one thing everyone supports in our community, please let it be the speed limit. Let it be the respect we show for each other’s most basic need for the safety and security of our families.
The loss of life is not worth the extra 20 to 30 seconds a driver gains by speeding through our neighborhood.
Dana Shores Traffic Study Even though we truly have a great neighborhood, we are not immune to problems. And speeding is one of them. In response to numerous public safety concerns raised by residents, pets having been run over by neighbors, and other close calls, we partnered with the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office (HCSO) in 2014 to conduct a three-day traffic study along Dana Shores Drive. The findings surprised us.
- 8,128 vehicular trips were made along Dana Shores Drive in just three days.
- Roughly 900 vehicles travelled at speeds of 40 mph or greater.
- Vehicles were clocked going as fast as 76 mph.
Subsequent investigations revealed similar speeding issues along the side streets. Neighbors living on a cul-de-sac or in areas where speed pillows are installed (i.e., Eden Roc Circle and Pelican Island) may not know what it feels like to have vehicles moving at highway speeds less than 50 feet from their front door or child’s bedroom window. But we can all imagine how the increased noise affects a child’s sleep. We can all imagine the concern a parent has each time a door is opened or a child steps into the front yard. In order to address these issues, we focused first on education and developing a shared perspective throughout Dana Shores and Pelican Island. We published articles in the newsletter, worked with HCSO to deploy mobile radar trailers that showed drivers the speed at which they were traveling, posted new reflective speed limit signs to catch driver’s attention, and answered a variety of related questions. Although most neighbors show respect for one another by obeying the speed limit, we continue to have cut-through traffic, contractors, deliverymen, guests, and some residents whom our message did not reach. This is a problem. It’s a problem we must address.
Speeding occurs all around us. And even as I write this, I cannot claim to have always obeyed the speed limit. But you learn a lot working with a community, and some of it changes your perspective.
Off the top of my head, I can name two separate neighbors on my street who have had children in or closely associated with their families die due to excessive speeds, a husband on the next street over whose wife was killed by a speeding car just one mile from here, and a daughter one more street over whose life was taken in an auto accident well before her time. I no longer have the luxury of wondering why these and other families are upset by speeding cars and the people who drive them.
I believe none of us want to be responsible for causing tragedy in our neighborhood. None of us want our children to see what I witnessed as a little girl, staring through the car window as my mother unsuccessfully tried to save the life of a girl hit by the car in front of us. None of us want to experience the pain my very close friend has suffered throughout most of her life, survivor’s guilt that developed after her younger brother was run over by a passing truck in front of their home. None of us want the nightmares my youth sports coach has suffered for decades, remembering the face of the girl he killed when she unexpectedly ran out into the road in front of him.
Accidents happen. And if none of us want to experience these tragic events within our community, all of us must work together to avoid them.
President, Dana Shores Civic Association
A direct and positive relationship has been found between speed and the severity of pedestrian injury in vehicle-pedestrian crashes. Traveling just ten miles over the speed limit along our side streets increases the probability of death nine fold. Those who travel at 40 mph along Dana Shores Drive almost guarantee a child’s death if the unexpected occurs. Table 1. Probability of pedestrian death resulting from various vehicle impact speeds.
|Vehicle speed (mph)||Probability of pedestrian fatality (%)|
|Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration: Speed Concepts – Informational Guide|
HCSO has increased traffic enforcement throughout the Dana Shores subdivision as time and duties permit, and we will continue to help educate neighbors. We also need your help.
Inform Contractors, Family Members, and Guests
If someone is here to visit your home or family, please take the opportunity to proactively set expectations with them about following the speed limit. Coach them.
Slow Down Cut-Through Traffic on Dana Shores Drive
Travel eastbound on Dana Shores Drive in the morning or westbound in the evening, and you’re likely to be sharing the road with a number of other drivers. Drive the speed limit, and you’re likely to develop a long line of impatient drivers behind you. Look at this as your opportunity to help educate these drivers and to reset their expectations about what is (and isn’t) acceptable when they drive through Dana Shores. Over time, they may find cutting through our neighborhood less appealing.
Address the Remaining Minority
Although we’d rather educate than punish, we also recognize that some people will not hear our message and others are not open to changing their habits. If coaching fails to correct the situation, please help by documenting the time of day, direction the car was traveling, and any other identifying information about a vehicle or person you see violating neighborhood speed limits. Tag numbers are extremely helpful. If you can establish regular time-of-day patterns for a given vehicle, that is also valuable. Specifics are important. Please email the information to us. We will consolidate your findings and send them to the HCSO deputy assigned to our traffic calming initiative.
Provide Input on Future Changes to Our Roadways
Neighborhood requests for speed pillows along Dana Shores Drive and side streets have increased over the last few years. For many, concerns over public safety outweigh the inherent dislike they have for driving over concrete humps. One of our core values is working for the majority. Please write to us and let us know your thoughts.
Help Us Address Related Matters
Due to the width of our side streets, two cars parked across from each other can block ambulances and fire trucks from reaching neighbors’ who live past your home. While we should hope for the best each day, it’s also responsible to be prepared for the worst. Please help by ensuring vehicles parked in front of your home use only one side of the street so that emergency response vehicles can pass freely.