|Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST)|
If you have a non-emergency traffic complaint, contact Public Information Officer Keith Blackmar, CTST Chairman, at email@example.com, and the WCSO will look into the complaint and contact you about how it has been resolved.
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What is the Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST)?
We are a group of volunteers concerned about improving traffic safety and flow in Wakulla County. Our Chairman is Public Information Officer Keith Blackmar of the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office. The Vice Chairman is Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Brian Speigner and the Secretary is Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Keith Blackmar.
The CTST meets the third Tuesday of each month at the WCSO conference room in the Emergency Operations Center. The meetings are open to the public.
Florida's Community Traffic Safety Teams (CTSTs) are locally based groups of highway safety advocates who are committed to solving traffic safety problems through a comprehensive, multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary approach. Members include local city, county, state and occasionally federal agencies, as well as private industry representatives and local citizens. The community boundaries determined by the individuals comprising the team, and can be a city, an entire county, and a portion of a county, multiple counties or any other jurisdictional arrangement.
Multi-jurisdictional means several agencies (cities, county and state) plus other groups and organizations working together toward a common goal of improving traffic safety in their community. Multi-disciplinary means integrating the efforts of the four "E" disciplines that work in highway safety, including Engineering, Enforcement, Education / public information and Emergency services. By working together with interested citizens and other traffic safety advocates within their communities, the CTSTs help to solve local traffic safety problems related to the driver, the vehicle and the roadway.
One common goal of each Community Traffic Safety Team is to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes within their community.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has been active in the support of Community Traffic Safety Teams. Each FDOT District has a CTST Coordinator who works closely with the CTSTs in their geographic area, and the Central FDOT Safety Office acts as a liaison to the District Coordinators.
CTST MINUTES TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2013
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 in the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Conference Room. Attending the meeting were: CTST Chairman and CTST Secretary Keith Blackmar, Emergency Management Director and CTST Vice-Chairman Scott Nelson, Wakulla County Commissioner Randy Merritt, Stan Rudd of the Department of Transportation, Donnie Phillips of Transfield Services, Brian Speigner of the Florida Highway Patrol, Sgt. Mike Helms of WCSO and Shane Maneth of Transfield Services.
Speed Spies were deployed at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Road and at Riversprings Middle School and Shadeville Elementary School on Shadeville Highway. Based on the speed studies on M.L. King, Jr. Memorial Road, the CTST recommended to increase the 35 mile per hour zone on the east end of the road to 45 miles per hour. A recommendation to keep the 35 mile per hour zone on the west end of the road near the Wakulla County Courthouse was approved.
The speed studies determined that motorists were driving close to the speed limits in the 45 mile per hour and 55 mile per hour zones but were well above the speed limit in the 35 mile per hour zone. The 85 percentile noted a speed of 57 miles per hour for motorists and an average speed of 47 miles per hour. The CTST agreed to make the recommendation based on the old speed limit being an arbitrary decision that wasn’t based on any scientific study. The CTST recommendation was unanimous.
Commissioner Randy Merritt will bring the recommendation back to the county commission for a potential speed limit change by the board. The CTST looked at the speed limit for the Shadeville Highway near the schools and determined that the speed limit should remain the same.
Work continues on the Panacea sidewalk project and the senior citizens sidewalk project by Alan Wise of Preble-Rish. Stan Rudd is still waiting on the plans from Alan Wise.
The CTST Member of the Year for 2013 is Sgt. Billy Jones. Chairman Blackmar presented Sgt. Jones a plaque at the sheriff’s office Monday, June 17 along with Sheriff Charlie Creel. Sgt. Jones did not want to appear before the county commission. Chairman Blackmar provided the funds for the plaque.
On June 12, the county Road and Bridge Department responded to a request to replace stolen stop signs on Old Shell Point Road. The signs were recovered by the WCSO and were replaced before the lack of stop signs along the road became a motorist hazard.
The CTST requested DOT review the possibility of adding a double yellow line on U.S. Highway 319 creating a no passing zone in the vicinity of New Light Church Road. Stan Rudd will look into the request for the CTST and Commissioner Merritt. Chairman Blackmar also had a citizen comment through the WCSO inquiring about the dangers of passing in the area of New Light Church Road and C.J. Spears Road. Stan will bring the request information back in August unless the road can be painted sooner.
Crash statistics for May 2013 included 18 crashes and a total of 112 for the year worked by WCSO. In 2012, 27 crashes were worked by WCSO in May and 175 worked by WCSO through the first five months of the year. WCSO DUI statistics for DUI arrests include two in January, one in February, five in March, eight in April, nine in May and five through the middle of June.
Brian Speigner questioned Commissioner Merritt about the possibility of gets county roads striped. He discussed the Smith Creek Highway as particularly faded. Commissioner Merritt said County Administrator David Edwards has put funding in the budget for road striping beginning in October 2013.
A dead oak tree is dropping tree limbs near U.S. Highway 319 at Donaldson Williams Road in Crawfordville. Transfield is working with the property owner to have the tree trimmed.
The next meeting of the CTST will be held Tuesday, Aug. 20 at 11 a.m. at the WCSO EOC Conference Room.
MIKE STEWART SELECTED AS CTST MEMBER OF THE YEAR FOR 2011 AND 2012
Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) Chairman and Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Keith Blackmar presented former Wakulla County Commissioner and former CTST member Mike Stewart with a plaque designating Stewart as the 2011 and 2012 CTST Member of the Year.
The presentation was made in front of the Wakulla County Commission on Monday, June 3. Stewart served the CTST for 10 years while also serving on the county commission.
Mike Stewart was a dedicated member who rarely missed a meeting. His plaque reads: In grateful appreciation for your dedication and commitment to the Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team—2011 and 2012.
The CTST is made up of volunteers who meet once a month on the third Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the WCSO except July and December. The meeting minutes and activities are posted as part of the sheriff’s office web site under Community Traffic Safety Team.
The CTST works on public safety projects including roads and intersections. Over the years the CTST has had a hand in working to make the Highway 267/Springhill Road intersection safer along with Shadeville Highway/Spring Creek Highway intersection as well as erecting traffic lights at dangerous intersections. The Highway 61 intersection with U.S. Highway 319 in Crawfordville was rebuilt through the efforts of the CTST.
At the present time the CTST is working on providing a sidewalk to provide safe access to sight impaired pedestrians and senior citizens who get around on motorized scooters and wheelchairs. The sidewalk will run from the senior center to U.S. Highway 319. A sidewalk project is also planned in Panacea to give residents safer access from their residences to Panacea businesses along U.S. Highway 98.
The CTST is also planning an intersection improvement at Wakulla Arran Road and U.S. Highway 319 to assist a vision impaired citizen who is frequently walking on the road to go to Crawfordville businesses.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, MAY 21, 2013
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 in the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Conference Room. Attending the meeting were: CTST Chairman and CTST Secretary Keith Blackmar, Emergency Management Director and CTST Vice-Chairman Scott Nelson, Wakulla County Commissioner Randy Merritt, Stan Rudd of the Department of Transportation, Donnie Phillips of Transfield Services, Sarita Taylor of the Department of Transportation, Brian Bradshaw of state Emergency Management, Brent Pell of ESG, Pat Jones of the School District Transportation Office and Alan Wise of Preble-Rish.
The Wildwood Drive school speed/safety zone will be completed after the 2012-2013 school year is completed. Solar powered school zone signs will be erected inside the Wildwood Acres subdivision by contractor Ingram Signalization. The subdivision road will also have road striping added. The speed limit in the subdivision will be reduced from 25 miles per hour to 20 miles per hour when the signs are illuminated.
A plaque for former CTST member Mike Stewart was acquired and will be presented to Mike on Monday, June 3 at 5 p.m. during a county commission meeting. The CTST has confirmed a place on the agenda and Mike is planning to attend the meeting to accept the plaque. CTST members are encouraged to attend. Sgt. Billy Jones of the WCSO was selected by the membership as the 2013 CTST Member of the Year.
Sgt. Mike Helms was on a funeral escort and could not attend the May CTST meeting to provide the Speed Spy statistics for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Road and Spring Creek Highway near Riversprings Middle School and Shadeville Elementary School. Mike has those statistics for review.
The Luke Smith Road and Magg Shevell Road visibility issue brought before the CTST by the Smiths in March is being addressed by County Commissioner Howard Kessler.
The CTST ranked a sidewalk project from the Wakulla County Senior Citizens Center to U.S. Highway 319 as a top funding priority to keep senior citizens safe. Senior citizens have been using Oak Street and Wakulla Arran Road to walk and ride motorized wheelchairs in an attempt to get to Crawfordville businesses. The CTST will attempt to fund the project through the Department of Transportation and the Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency (CRTPA).
Ingram Signalization fixed a broken traffic signal loop at the U.S. Highway 319 and Mike Stewart Drive intersection that was causing delays on the highway. The traffic signal at the Wakulla County Courthouse was examined to determine if there is anything wrong with it following other complaints. The courthouse traffic signal checked out okay. Citizens complained about the delay at both intersections.
The Wakulla County Welcome Signs for entrances to the county are still in the process of being placed. Alan Wise and Commissioner Merritt agreed to work with the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and the Tourist Development Council (TDC) to make sure the final obstacles are taken care of. Commissioner Merritt agreed to donate wind engineering services needed for the signs and the TDC plans to pay for the permit.
The traffic crash statistics for April included 14 for the month and 94 for the year worked by WCSO. In 2012, 45 were worked in April and 148 were worked by WCSO through the first four months of the year.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, APRIL 16, 2013
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 in the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Conference Room. Attending the meeting were: CTST Chairman and CTST Secretary Keith Blackmar, firefighter Brandon Alyea, Sgt. Mike Helms of the WCSO, Emergency Management Director and CTST Vice-Chairman Scott Nelson, Wakulla County Commissioner Randy Merritt, Stan Rudd of the Department of Transportation and Lt. Brad Taylor of WCSO.
Sgt. Mike Helms set up the Speed Spies at the 900 block of Spring Creek Highway and in the 55 mile per hour zone of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Road to take speed readings for potential speed limit changes on the two roads. Sgt. Helms will also set up the Speed Spies in 45 mile per hour and 35 mile per hour zones on Spring Creek Highway near the two schools. Sgt. Helms is leaving up the Speed Spies for two days in an effort to get accurate readings of vehicle speeds.
Sgt. Helms also presented his Speed Spy information from Shadeville Highway in a 35 mile per hour zone near the community center. The county commission is hoping to raise the speed limit back to 45 miles per hour.
The Speed Spies counted, tracked and recorded 2,947 vehicles during the measurement period. The speed of the vehicles in the 85th percentile was 49 miles per hour. The 50th percentile was 42 miles per hour, the highest speed was 68 miles per hour and the average speed was 41 miles per hour. The total number of vehicles above the speed limit was 2,262.
There were no known traffic crash issues in the speed zone and Commissioner Merritt requested CTST to vote to raise the speed limit back to 45. After extensive discussion by all of the members present, the vote passed 4-2 with members Merritt, Taylor, Nelson and Blackmar voting in favor and members Helms and Alyea voting against. Member Rudd does not have a vote as the DOT representative.
The CTST discussed the possibility of making a recommendation to the county commission about changing the parade routes for spring festival activities off U.S. Highway 319. Member Helms pointed out that putting the parade routes on the back roads will create more problems for residents being blocked in and having individuals on their property as well as parking issues along the main highway. The CTST decided to leave the parade routes where they are on the main highway.
Citizens have complained about the length of time the Wal-Mart traffic signal stays red at Mike Stewart Drive during off hours and during rush hour times. Brent Pell of ESG said his contractor will check out the control box to make sure the traffic signal is not going through an entire cycle when it doesn’t need to. Hopefully the issue will be addressed to keep rush hour traffic from backing up for a mile or more and eliminate motorists waiting at the light when there is no traffic coming from the store.
Director Nelson said the month of April has been busy with traffic crashes but most of the crashes have been minor in nature.
A Top 10 Priority List of Projects was created at the request of Stan Rudd of DOT. The top priority project for the CTST is the creation of a sidewalk from the Wakulla County Senior Citizens Center to U.S. Highway 319. The sidewalk will provide safer access for senior citizens who either walk or ride motorized chairs to get to the highway.
Commissioner Merritt suggested sending a letter of support for the sidewalk project to the Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency (CRTPA) and Executive Director Harry Reed. Chairman Blackmar will write a letter to Director Reed asking for support after approval by the CTST.
Crash statistics for March 2013 included 28 crashes worked by WCSO and 80 worked through March 31, 2013 by WCSO. Last year, 36 crashes were worked by WCSO in March 2012 and 103 were worked during the first three months of 2012.
The next meeting of the CTST is Tuesday, May 23 at 11 a.m. in the WCSO EOC Conference Room.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, MARCH 19, 2013
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center Conference Room.
Those attending the meeting included: CTST Chairman, CTST Secretary and WCSO PIO Keith Blackmar, Sgt. Billy Jones of the WCSO, Greg Taylor of DOT, Stan Rudd of DOT, Donnie Phillips of Transfield Services; Commissioner Randy Merritt, Cleve Fleming of ESG, Lt. Bruce Ashley of the WCSO, Emergency Management Director Scott Nelson, firefighter Brandon Alyea, firefighter Jerry Johnson, Lt. Brad Taylor of the WCSO and guests Ruby H. Smith and Lerinzo L. Smith.
The Wakulla County Commission approved the CTST request to create a new school safety and speed zone within the Wildwood Acres subdivision that will be in addition to the school zone which is posted on U.S. Highway 98 at the entrance to the subdivision. The new zone will provide additional safety measures for Wakulla Middle School, including new paint on the road and solar powered informational signs. The board took action on Monday, March 18.
The installation of the signs and road paint is expected to be completed within the month. Ingram Signalization Company will be tasked with doing the work, according to ESG’s Cleve Fleming.
The Speed Spies were deployed along Shadeville Highway in an effort to determine speeds in the area of Trice lane and the county’s Community Center. The 80th percentile was 49 miles per hour which would seem to support an increase in the speed limit from 35 miles per hour to 45 miles per hour. Randy Merritt said the speed limit has been posted too low. The CTST did not take any action because Sgt. Mike Helms could not attend the meeting due to other commitments and asked if the speed limit matter could be postponed. Commissioner Merritt asked if the Speed Spies could be deployed at other locations around the county where speed limits may to too low.
Ruby Smith and Lerinzo Smith requested a three way stop sign at the Luke Smith Road and Old Bethel Road intersection, but with limited visibility Cleve Fleming said ESG would look into talking with property owners about cutting back on natural growth to provide a safer intersection. The Smiths also asked about paving Luke Smith Road and Magg Shevell Road in an effort to provide better conditions for motorists.
Cleve told the couple that the county has a lack of road right of way to pave the roads as well as a lack of funding. But Cleve and Randy said they would investigate the area to determine if trees can be cut to improve visibility.
Scott Nelson was selected as the new vice chairman to replace FHP Trooper Brian Speigner who served as vice chairman the past three years. The CTST also retained Keith Blackmar as CTST secretary.
The CTST discussed the Top 10 Project list following a request from Stan Rudd. The list was chopped up into several projects and the CTST will discuss finalizing the list for Stan in April.
The February 2013 crash statistics included 32 worked by the WCSO and 52 as the running total for the year worked by WCSO. In 2012, 34 traffic crashes were worked by WCSO in February and 67 were worked for the first two months of 2012.
Under member concerns: pilings issues have been discovered on the Wakulla River Upper Bridge. An engineering report is forthcoming from the county; Lt. Ashley said Keep Wakulla County Beautiful has replaced some signs and added 10 miles of adopted roadways to replenish the efforts to keep the county clean; Randy Merritt suggested the CTST craft a letter asking residents to consider clearing property as a safety measure on Old Bethel Road; the CTST may craft a letter recommending the county commission consider using roads adjacent to U.S. Highway 319 for spring parade routes rather than closing U.S. Highway 319 several times a year.
The next meeting of the Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) will be held Tuesday, April 16, 2013.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, FEB. 19, 2013
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 in the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Conference Room. Those attending the meeting included: Chairman Sgt. Billy Jones of the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office, Stan Rudd of the Department of Transportation, Greg Taylor of the Florida Department of Transportation, Donnie Phillips of Transfield Services, Shane Maneth of Transfield Services, Sgt. Mike Helms of the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office, Trooper Brian Speigner of the Florida Highway Patrol, Lt. Bruce Ashley of the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office, Wakulla County Commissioner Randy Merritt, School Transportation Director Pat Jones, Alan Wise of Preble Rish, Brent Pell of ESG, Emergency Management Director Scott Nelson, firefighter Jerry Johnson and CTST Secretary and PIO Keith Blackmar of the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office.
The CTST is working to create a new school zone within Wildwood Acres in front of Wakulla Middle School that will include school zone lights and a 20 mile per hour speed limit within the subdivision when the lights are illuminated. There will be no changes to the U.S. Highway 98 school zone. School zone paint and signs will be added near Wakulla Middle School at minimal cost. The changes are pending approval from the Wakulla County Commission.
Wildwood Drive is a walking route for a number of students who walk to school, but do not have any sidewalks to use. The project will be used as part of the Department of Transportation’s Law Enforcement Challenge.
A letter will be submitted to the Wakulla County Commission from the CTST asking for board approval of the new school zone. There will be no changes to the U.S. Highway 98 school zone.
Commissioner Merritt said he wanted to use the 85 percentile as the speed limit for the roads. The Shadeville Highway 35 mile per hour speed limit needs to be increased, according to the commissioner.
The CTST requested a speed study from the Department of Transportation to increase U.S. Highway 319 from 35 miles per hour to 45 miles per hour in Crawfordville near Hudson Park. Greg Taylor requested the speed study and the Crawfordville request was placed on the DOT list to be completed.
The CTST discussed traffic crashes including a fatality near the Dollar General north of Crawfordville. There was no consensus on how the traffic crash could have been avoided based on road design. The WCSO worked fewer traffic crashes in January 2013 when compared to January 2012. In January 2012, 33 traffic crashes were worked by WCSO. In January 2013, 20 traffic crashes were worked by WCSO.
Discussions turned to construction of a turn lane for Wakulla Christian School north of Crawfordville. DOT cannot fund the turn lane for the school/church so the future of a turn lane at the facility will rest on the school/church funding it.
The CTST voted to approve former Wakulla County Commissioner Mike Stewart for the CTST Member of the Year for 2011 and 2012. Commissioner Stewart was a dedicated member of the CTST and allowed his high school classroom to be used for meetings. He attended nearly all of the meetings held during his time on the CTST and was a great supporter of public safety and making Wakulla County a safer place for pedestrians and motorists.
Chairman Sgt. Billy Jones stepped down as chairman of the CTST and Randy Merritt made a motion to appoint Keith Blackmar as the new chairman. Pat Jones seconded the motion and it was approved. Trooper Speigner is the vice chair and had to leave the meeting before it was over. The CTST will address the vice chair position at a future meeting. Keith Blackmar will remain the CTST secretary.
Jerry Johnson was welcomed as a new member of the CTST. Jerry represents Wakulla County Firefighters.
Stan Rudd requested a priority list of 10 projects the CTST has been working on that can be presented to DOT to determine timeliness of addressing the projects. Chairman Blackmar will create a list for the CTST to review at a future meeting.
The next meeting of the CTST will be held Tuesday, March 19 at 11 a.m. in the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center Conference Room.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, JAN. 15, 2013
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 in the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center Conference Room. Attending the meeting was CTST Chairman Lt. Billy Jones, Vice Chair FHP Trooper Brian Speigner, WCSO Sgt. Mike Helms, Shane Maneth and Donnie Phillips of Transfield Services, Greg Taylor and Stan Rudd of the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT), School District Transportation Director Pat Jones, Wakulla County Commissioner Randy Merritt, Cleve Fleming of ESG Public Works, Emergency Management Director Scott Nelson and WCSO PIO and CTST Secretary Keith Blackmar. The meeting was also attended by guests Sheriff Charlie Creel, Undersheriff Trey Morrison, Lt. Bruce Ashley and Lt. Brad Taylor.
In old business, the CTST received an update on the soon to be erected Wakulla County entrance and welcome signs through Donnie Phillips. The signs are being engineered by Preble-Rish and have a rustic look featuring a wharf. The signs will be erected on all entry points to Wakulla County on primary roads. Some of the signs will be placed on the border of the county and others will be placed inside the county for safety issues such as the bridges leading into Franklin County. The signs are expected to receive final approval very soon.
Work is continuing on the Safe Schools Sidewalk Grant which will make improvements from Wakulla Middle School to the Wakulla Recreation Park and Wakulla High School in Medart and in Sopchoppy from the downtown area to Hodge City Park. The plans are in engineer Preble-Rish’s possession and will be submitted to the Department of Transportation.
The planning continues for the sidewalk project scheduled to be built in the Panacea community. The sidewalk will help Panacea residents who are wheelchair bound get around their community while also provide better access to pedestrians and those on bicycles get around the community.
In new business, the WCSO is addressing enforcement of speed limits in school zones during the morning hours and addressing complaints of motorists running past stopped school buses that are picking up children.
A solar powered flashing speed limit sign will be erected at Wakulla Middle School by the county. The Speed Spies will be set up on Wildwood Drive where a new school zone will be built. The Speed Spies will also be placed at Wildwood Drive and Wakulla Middle School to determine the effectiveness of the new school zone. ESG will handle the painting of the road and the erection of the new signs.
The CTST will review the before and after speed statistics to see if the new school zone has made the Wakulla Middle School zone safer for students. The Safe Schools Sidewalks grant will also make the area for those students who walk to school defined and safer.
Once the statistics are compiled and analyzed, the project will be submitted to the Department of Transportation by the Wakulla CTST as our “pet project” as part of the Florida Law Enforcement Challenge competition. The WCSO will also use its web presence to promote the results of the study.
Sheriff Creel and Superintendent of Schools Bobby Pearce have been working jointly to enhance school district security for students and staff. There will be additional foot patrols conducted on school campuses by road patrol deputies.
Stan Rudd and DOT donated 1,500 spiral bound notebooks to the school district to promote and encourage students to take advantage of Walk to School Day. Since the district does not want students crossing major highways, the program will be offered to a limited number of students who live near Crawfordville Elementary School and Wakulla Middle School. Pat Jones will be announcing a date for the event after discussing the idea with parents in the WMS and Duncan Drive communities.
Lt. Jones expressed a desire to have a CTST membership booth at various community events in 2013. A static display was discussed that would include fire and law enforcement activities. There are a number of community events during the spring where the display could be used.
Lt. Jones also discussed increasing the CTST membership and possible additions included: EMS, fire and health department personnel.
Greg Taylor asked Commissioner Merritt if the county commission supports a wider mowing width along the U.S. Highway 98 right of way. At the present time the board supports a 12 foot mowing lane to allow for the growth of wildflowers during the warm weather. The right of way is given a full mowing twice during the winter months.
Commissioner Merritt asked the CTST to restore some speed limits along a handful of Wakulla County roads. The county commission agreed in September 2012 to increase a number of speed limits if the CTST recommended the action.
Some of the changes proposed included Trice Lane, Arran Road, Ivan Church Road, Revadee Spears Road, Shadeville Highway, Spring Creek Highway, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Road, Jack Crum Road, Smith Creek Highway, Shell Point Highway, Kornegay Way, Oak Park Road, Arran Strickland Road, Taff Drive, Whiddon Lake Road and Springhill Road.
The increase in speed limits was recommended by E.C Driver & Associates in Tallahassee in June 2000. The January meeting marked the return of Randy Merritt to the CTST. Merritt is now the county commission chairman.
The WCSO investigated 405 traffic crashes during the 2012 calendar year. The crashes included a small number of traffic fatalities.
The next meeting of the CTST will be held Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 11 a.m. in the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center Conference Room.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, NOV. 20, 2012
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session Tuesday, Nov. 20 at the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center Conference Room. Attending the meeting was CTST Chairman Billy Jones of the WCSO, Donnie Phillips of Transfield Services, Brent Pell of ESG, Greg Taylor of the Florida Department of Transportation, Stan Rudd of the Florida Department of Transportation and CTST Secretary and WCSO PIO Keith Blackmar. Visitor Denise Trice also attended the meeting.
Ms. Trice appeared before the CTST to request a reduction of speed on U.S. Highway 319 near Nichols and Sons Seafood between Medart and Sopchoppy. She expressed concerns about motorists passing other motorists by using dirt sections off the roadway as well as the dangers to motorists attempting to access area businesses and overall speeding.
Taylor added that the study viewed the composition of the neighborhood such as homes, churches, businesses, traffic crashes over a five year period in the area and sight lines. He suggested that area businesses could pay for the cost of a turn lane on the highway, but a turn lane did not meet the criteria of being paid for by DOT. The turn lane would be safer for motorists, Taylor noted.
The speed study also determined that the road became busier after 2 p.m. The creation of a no passing zone in the area is another option for the region. Deputies working traffic enforcement were also alerted to the possibility of motorists needing to be ticketed for certain acts in the area of Nichols and Sons Seafood.
A citizen requested speed limit signs for the Wakulla Gardens roads and the 15 mile per hour signs have been erected at all of the entrances to roads into Wakulla Gardens.
Three Speed Spies studies were conducted on Old Shell Point Road, Mohawk Trail and Emmett Whaley Road near Mathers Farm Road in October.
Old Shell Point Road was conducted from Oct. 17 to Oct. 19 with a total of 1,040 vehicles counted. The posted speed is 45 miles per hour and the average speed was 43 miles per hour while the highest speed was 61 miles per hour. Eighty-five percent of the vehicles were traveling 48 miles per hour.
Mohawk Trail was studied on the same days and counted 551 total vehicles with a posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour. The average speed was 23 miles per hour and highest speed was 44 miles per hour for only one vehicle. Eighty-five percent of the vehicles were traveling 30 miles per hour.
Emmett Whaley Road was surveyed from Oct. 24 to Oct. 29. The total vehicle count was 590 with a posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour. The average speed was 41 miles per hour and the highest speed was 68 miles per hour. Eighty-five percent of the vehicles were traveling 41 miles per hour.
The Speed Spies also tell law enforcement officials what time of the day the largest numbers of violations are occurring. Road patrol deputies were alerted to the higher speeds on Emmett Whaley Road.
CTST Secretary Keith Blackmar worked with Cathy Bott of Preble-Rish Engineering to create two CTST letters of support for the Safe Route to Schools Grant. The grants provide funding to create sidewalk projects from Wakulla Middle School to the Recreation Park in Medart and Wakulla High School and a second sidewalk project from the Sopchoppy Education Center to the Myron B. Hodge Recreation Park in Sopchoppy and the downtown Sopchoppy area.
The Wakulla County Commission approved a speed limit change on Lonnie Raker Lane so that the entire road is 35 miles per hour. The project was completed with the new speed limit signs being erected.
A new county commissioner will be selected by the board Monday, Dec. 3 to be the representative on the CTST. Mike Stewart was the commission representative until the 2012 election concluded.
New decorative Wakulla County entrance signs will be placed at entry locations on state roads. The new signs will replace the former “Welcome to Wakulla County” signs.
The next meeting of the CTST will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 11 a.m. at the WCSO Emergency Operations Center Conference Room. The CTST does not meet in December.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, OCT. 16, 2012
In old business, Greg Taylor reported that the speed study requested during the spring of 2012 for the Nichols Seafood area of U.S. Highway 319 near Sopchoppy has been completed. State officials determined through their study that a speed limit change is not warranted and the speed limit will remain the same. A resident of the area requested a lowering of the speed limit due to safety concerns.
The Syfrett Creek Bridge replacement project will be completed during the second week of November. The project was slowed by Tropical Storm Debby earlier this year. It is located on Highway 375 between Sopchoppy and Smith Creek.
The CTST agreed to a consistent 35 mile per hour speed limit along Lonnie Raker Lane in an effort to keep a consistent speed limit on the road. Presently, the speed limit varies from 35 miles per hour to 45 miles per hour depending on the location. Commissioner Mike Stewart will take the CTST recommendation to the county commission for board members to take official action.
In new business, the Speed Spies were deployed at two roads within the Wakulla Gardens community and over a three day period. The study determined that most of the motorists using E.J. Stringer Road and Chickat Trail were well within the legal speed limit. The few vehicles that were over the speed limit were not way over the 25 mile per hour speed.
The Speed Spies will be deployed at Old Shell Point Road to determine if there is a serious speeding problem in the community. Residents in the community have requested a lowering of the speed limit to 35 miles per hour the entire length of the road. Presently, there are multiple speed limits on Old Shell Point Road depending on location. The CTST has not supported the idea of adding speed calming devices along the road due to the school bus and ambulance vehicle usage.
Alan Wise of Preble-Rish Inc. is working on Safe Route to Schools Grants to add pedestrian facilities in Sopchoppy and Medart and a sidewalk project in Panacea. The CTST supported the three projects and has already sent a letter in support of the Panacea sidewalk project. The CTST agreed to submit letters of support to Preble-Rish to be included in the Safe Route to Schools Grant.
The Medart sidewalk project would connect Wakulla Middle School to the Medart Recreation Park and Wakulla High School.
Sgt. Helms reported that there haven’t been any major accidents since a fatality was reported on U.S. Highway 319 near the Dollar General. An elderly brother and sister were killed in the crash that also involved a power pole and electrical line. As always, several minor traffic crashes were reported.
WCSO road patrol units continue to monitor Old Shell Point Road for motorists who are not stopping at posted stop signs.
Wakulla County has received two solar and battery powered speed signs from DOT that inform motorists of their speed where it is posted. The speed signs will be deployed in the county at a future date.
The next meeting of the CTST will be held Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 11 a.m. at the Wakulla High School NJROTC classroom.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, SEPT. 18, 2012
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met Tuesday, Sept. 18 in regular session at the Wakulla High School NJROTC classroom. Those in attendance included: CTST Chairman Lt. Billy Jones of the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office, Commissioner Mike Stewart, Darrel West of ESG Inc., Pat Jones of the Wakulla School District, Greg Taylor of the Florida Department of Transportation, Stan Rudd of the Florida Department of Transportation, Brent Pell of ESG Inc., Donnie Phillips of Transfield Services, Marge Kinder, Sgt. Mike Helms of the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office, CTST Secretary and Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office PIO Keith Blackmar and guests Robert Spraker and Mark Lundberg.
In old business, resident Mark Lundberg requested an opportunity to speak to the CTST about reducing the speed limit on Old Shell Point Road. Part of the road is 45 miles per hour and part of the road is 35 miles per hour. Lundberg would like to see the entire road reduced to 35 miles per hour.
Lundberg expressed a concern about school bus safety, traffic crashes and speeding in the area. A traffic count at Old Shell Point Road conducted by the county noted that 1,037 vehicles used the road over a single day and 30 percent of them were traveling more than 45 miles per hour.
The Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office has dedicated a great deal of enforcement manpower to the location. But the roadway has some obstacles making enforcement difficult. The county was faced with a paving project that inherited a 30 to 40 foot right of way and a 25 mile per hour speed limit as a dirt road. Narrow portions of the road make running radar difficult for law enforcement.
Mr. Lundberg suggested creating a uniform 35 mile per hour speed limit along the length of the road. The CTST agreed to take up the matter again at the Oct. 16 meeting. Ultimately, any speed limit change along the roadway would be sent as a CTST recommendation to the Wakulla County Commission. Only board action could change the speed limit.
The CTST recommended approving a school bus stop sign request from Robert Spraker in the Lonnie Raker Lane and Will Road area near Riversink Elementary School. Two signs will be added to warn motorists of the presence of school buses on the busy roads.
Sgt. Helms recommended reducing the speed limit on Lonnie Raker Lane to a consistent 35 miles per hours. He told the CTST that there are too many speed zone changes along Lonnie Raker and motorists are speeding well above the speed limit. The Speed Spies noted one motorist at 92 miles per hour on the road. The CTST recommended the change and will send the request to the Wakulla County Commission for consideration.
In August, FHP Trooper Brian Speigner requested DOT check on the intersection of U.S. Highway 319 and U.S. Highway 98 at the “Lower Y.” Vehicles were observed avoiding the stop sign from U.S. 319 to U.S. 98 and entering U.S. 98 on a dirt portion of property just south of the stop sign. DOT staff informed the CTST that they were unable to do anything to block the dirt pathway because the property was not state right of way.
Sgt. Mike Helms informed the CTST that there were 34 vehicle crashes during the month of August and a dual fatality on Sept. 11 in Crawfordville. Sgt. Helms and Stan Rudd recommended that motorists over the age of 50 consider preparing a plan for transportation for when they get older.
The state has not addressed the licensing of elderly citizens and nationwide elderly drivers with health issues do end up killing other motorists. However, statistically, elderly motorists do not have high crash rates. But over the years WCSO staff has been asked to assist older motorists locate their homes due to mental health issues.
Discussion centered on road signs that have become covered up by natural growth or have become faded or covered with mildew. The CTST asked the county’s public works department to address the signs that are hard to read.
Pat Jones asked the CTST to support the creation of a school zone near Wakulla Middle School and Jean Drive. The school zone markings are on U.S. Highway 98 near Wildwood Drive but not inside the subdivision. The new school zone would also include school zone warning signs with school speed times posted. The WCSO has been patrolling the subdivision to reduce the number of speeding motorists.
The CTST will next meet on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 11 a.m. in the NJROTC classroom at Wakulla High School.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, AUG. 21, 2012
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012 at the Wakulla High School NJROTC classroom at Wakulla High School. Those attending the meeting included: Acting Chairman Brian W. Speigner of the Florida Highway Patrol, Commissioner Mike Stewart, Lyle Seigler of the Florida Department of Transportation, Stan Rudd of the Florida Department of Transportation, Greg Taylor of the Florida Department of Transportation, Donnie Phillips of Transfield Services, Alan Wise of Preble-Rish, Brent Pell of ESG Wakulla Public Works and CTST Secretary Keith Blackmar, Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office PIO.
Commissioner Mike Stewart and Alan Wise will get together to submit a package to the Florida Department of Transportation describing the Panacea Sidewalk Project and provide letters in support of the project. The CTST, Sheriff Donnie Crum and the Wakulla County Commission all support the safety project which will assist Panacea residents who don’t have transportation to get around their community safely.
Alan Wise is working on Safe Route Sidewalks to connect Wakulla Middle School to Wakulla High School and the Wakulla County Recreation Park in Medart as well as connecting Sopchoppy School with downtown Sopchoppy and Sopchoppy City Park.
The projects can be two miles long or less and feature concrete paths that can be up to eight feet wide. A similar project has already been placed in the DOT Work Program for a sidewalk from the center of Crawfordville to Crawfordville Elementary School.
Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office road patrol units continue to work on traffic enforcement throughout August. With the start of school the focus shifted to speeding in school zones. The traffic enforcement has been conducted all over Wakulla County.
On Saturday, Aug. 25, DUI saturation patrols will run from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. and a sobriety checkpoint will be set up from midnight to 1 a.m. in downtown Crawfordville.
Here are the details:
A total of 45 vehicles passed through the DUI sobriety checkpoint at midnight Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 25 and Aug. 26. The one hour checkpoint delayed motorists approximately one minute and 30 seconds on average, unless they had issues to be addressed.
The checkpoint resulted in one DUI arrest and six citations being issued. The citations included: three for driving while license suspended or revoked and one each for failure to exhibit driver license on demand, no proof of insurance and failure to exhibit registration.
The saturation patrols that occurred during and after the checkpoint included the issuance of another 14 citations and a second DUI arrest. The citations included two expired tags; two speeding tickets; one careless driving citation; one stop sign violation; one failure to maintain a single lane; two lack of proof of insurance; two failure to exhibit driver license; two driving while license suspended or revoked; and one failure to exhibit registration.
Several citizens made positive comments to deputies on the road about the law enforcement presence in the area. There were several designated drivers in use and a taxi cab was used as well. FHP also sent a trooper to assist WCSO.
Wakulla Gardens resident Tammy Hornbaker requested additional stop signs in her community to cut down on speeding. The CTST did not support additional stop signs in Wakulla Gardens because stop signs are not supposed to be used as traffic calming devices. Her second request was for children playing signs. The county no longer erects children playing signs, as that would be up to the subdivision residents to foot the cost.
However, the CTST did support her request of lowering the speed limit from 25 miles per hour to 15 miles per hour. Commissioner Stewart will take the recommendation before the county commission to see if the board approves of the speed change.
Trooper Speigner asked Transfield to review the Lower Y intersection of U.S. Highway 319 and U.S. Highway 98 to determine if anything can be done to prevent motorists from circumventing the stop sign on U.S. 319 getting back on to U.S. 98.
To avoid traffic, motorists are cutting along the grass to approach the intersection on a dirt area just north of the gasoline pumps at the convenience store.
The county will fix a damaged stop sign in the Winn-Dixie parking lot near McDonald’s. The work is not the responsibility of the county but county staff is concerned about citizen safety.
The next meeting of the CTST will be held Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 11 a.m. in the NJROTC classroom at Wakulla High School.
NO CTST MEETING HELD IN JULY 2012
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2012
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session Tuesday, June 19 at the Emergency Operations Center at the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office. Those attending the meeting included: Chairman Lt. Billy Jones of the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office; Stan Rudd of the Department of Transportation; Greg Taylor of the Department of Transportation; Lt. Brad Taylor of the WCSO; Emergency Management Director Scott Nelson of the WCSO; Sgt. Mike Helms of the WCSO; County Commissioner Mike Stewart; Donnie Phillips of Transfield Services; and CTST Secretary and WCSO PIO Keith Blackmar.
The Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office expressed support for the advancement of the Panacea Sidewalk Project as Sheriff Donnie Crum wrote a letter to the Department of Transportation. Another letter of support was written by Lt. Jones on behalf of the CTST. The letters stressed the importance of funding the project for the safety of Panacea residents who use bicycles, Electric Convenience Vehicles (ECV) or walk along the side of U.S. Highway 98.
The project is on the Department of Transportation work list. The support letters noted that special needs residents have gotten their ECVs stuck in the sand and had to be helped out of their predicament by motorists. Wakulla County Commissioners were expected to send a letter of support to DOT for the project as well.
The CTST reflected on supporting the U.S. Highway 319 project as a nighttime resurfacing and widening. The project has worked well with fewer accidents on the busy highway. The project is expected to be completed in late July or early August depending on the weather conditions.
The county road and bridge department will erect a new sign informing golf cart users where the Golf Cart Community designation stops and starts. Residents in the area have complained about golf cart riders using their carts to get from Shell Point to Oyster Bay on the dangerous access road.
Wakulla County Commissioners agreed to grind up the rumble strips that approached the new stop sign on Rehwinkel Road on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Road end. The rumble strips remained on the U.S. Highway 98 end. Citizens complained about the noise that the rumble strips created near their homes. A left turn yield sign will be erected on the western side of Rehwinkel Road as motorists approach Tafflinger Road.
Sgt. Mike Helms gave team members a speed enforcement report for May. In May, the WCSO responded to 295 traffic stops and created 349 radar assignments of running radar for at least one hour. The agency responded to 74 traffic crashes; 10 hit and run reports; 86 reckless drivers; 14 road obstructions and four speeding tickets were written.
Five DUI arrests were made with others pending the return of blood alcohol tests that were conducted at the time of the incident. Three faulty equipment citations were written.
The summer months allow two school resource officers to assist on road patrols. The other SROs are assisting other divisions. More than 1,000 traffic fatalities have been reported in Florida from January 1 to May 31, or more than the entire 2011 statistics.
During the July 4 holiday period the WCSO took aggressive action against drunk drivers by conducting a sobriety checkpoint and DUI saturation. The traffic patrol activities have been made possible through a DOT grant of $30,000 which pays for 800 hours of paid overtime.
The WCSO has discovered that the agency is in the top three in the state for the DOT Law Enforcement Challenge. The contest rewards agencies for improving statistics regarding traffic crashes and DUIs. The DOT awards points good toward equipment and the agency has the possibility of winning a new vehicle. All WCSO deputies work traffic crashes.
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) takes the month of July off. The next meeting of the CTST will be Tuesday, Aug. 21 at 11 a.m. at the Wakulla High School NJROTC classroom.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session Tuesday, May 15 at the Wakulla High School NJROTC classroom. Those attending the meeting included: Chairman and WCSO Lt. Billy Jones, Brent Pell of ESG, Alan Wise of Preble Rish, Donnie Phillips of Transfield Services, Brian Speigner of FHP, Stan Rudd of DOT and WCSO PIO and CTST Secretary Keith Blackmar.
The CTST discussed speed limit and stop sign concerns along Old Shell Point. Some citizens have expressed frustration with the number of stop signs that were erected when the dirt road was paved. The speed limit has been set at 35 miles per hour except for a section of the north end of the road that was set at 45 miles per hour.
The Rehwinkel Road paving project is nearing a conclusion and speed limits will be set at 35 miles per hour on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. end to the second big curve and 45 miles per hour from near the second curve to U.S. Highway 98. The speed limit was changed to 35 miles per hour for the construction project. The contractor is adding the final road striping and pulling out the construction project signs. The new stop sign on Rehwinkel near Tafflinger Road will include a broken yellow line for motorists turning left as they pass Tafflinger. The temporary painted lines do not have a break in the yellow lines where motorists turn left past the new stop sign.
The county staff has received a great deal of complaints about dust in the Wakulla Gardens area. The county is planning to mix rock with the sand on the dirt roads in an effort to reduce the amount of dust in dry weather. Wakulla Gardens residents will receive a letter from the county around July 1 asking if they want to share a small financial fee for paving the subdivision. Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office road patrol units continue to conduct traffic enforcement in the area to reduce speeding.
Stan Rudd asked for specific areas along U.S. Highway 319 where there are problems with road damage such as crumbling, wash out and tree limbs near the pavement. Commissioner Mike Stewart brought up the road concerns during the April CTST meeting.
The sheriff’s office will continue to post speed enforcement locations in an effort to raise awareness of speeding on residential roads.
The CTST wished Greg Taylor well with his recent surgery sidelining the DOT liaison indefinitely from meetings.
Donnie Phillips said political season has increased the number of signs erected on the sides of the highways. Signs erected in the right of way will be removed by DOT staff and placed in a DOT work yard in Franklin or Jefferson counties. Brent Pell volunteered the Trice Lane Annex as a location for storing confiscated signs to make it easier for candidates to retrieve their signs. Signs will also be taken down if they are deemed to be in the line of sight for motorists even if they are not in the right of way. The Franklin County DOT work yard is located on Carrabelle Airport Road.
Alan Wise suggested a turn lane on U.S. Highway 319 and rumble strips on Emmett Whaley Road to reduce traffic accidents at the Medart location following a recent fatal wreck at the site. A state SCOP grant project is scheduled to resurface Emmett Whaley Road in 2014 and additional work can be added to the original grant funding request.
The June meeting of the CTST will be held Tuesday, June 19 at 11 a.m. in the WCSO Emergency Operations Center conference room since the high school will be closed for the summer months.
CTST MEETING MINUTES TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2012
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session Tuesday, April 17 at the Wakulla High School NJROTC classroom. Attending the meeting were: Chairman Lt. Billy Jones of the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office, Brent Pell of ESG, Greg Taylor of DOT, Stan Rudd of DOT, Donnie Phillips of Transfield Services, Marj Law, Marge Kinder, Karen Graves and Alan Wise of Preble-Rish.
Robert Carnley requested guidance from the CTST regarding the gating of Royster Drive and Walker Creek Drive in the Shell Point area to make the area safer for golf cart operations. The CTST took no action on the request because the two roads are not county roads and county commissioners have no jurisdiction over private roads.
A request was given to Donnie Phillips to send along to the Florida Department of Transportation to close a portion of U.S. Highway 98 for the Blue Crab Festival Parade on Saturday, May 5.
Discussion was held to address sidewalks in Sopchoppy. Some handicapped residents have to ride along the sides of the roadways to get around which creates a dangerous situation.
Sidewalks were also discussed for the St. Marks community as well as linking the St. Marks Charter School (COAST) with other parts of the community. Allen Wise will look into funding options for the CTST.
The CTST is considering sending a letter to the state Department of Transportation documenting safety issues related to sidewalks and public safety.
A speed study on U.S. Highway 319 has been requested and could be put in place near Nichols Seafood. A citizen requested a lower speed limit near the commercial establishment to address safety concerns. The speed study will make a recommendation to either leave the speed limit as it is or decrease the speed in the area of Nichols Seafood.
A turn lane is planned at the intersection of U.S. Highway 98 and Highway 363 (Woodville Highway). The work is expected to be completed later in 2012.
The next meeting of the Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 15 at the Wakulla High School NJROTC classroom.
CTST MEETING MINUTES FROM MARCH 27, 2012
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session Tuesday, March 27 at the Wakulla High School NJROTC classroom. Those attending the meeting included: Chairman and WCSO Lt. Billy Jones of the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office; WCSO Emergency Management Director Scott Nelson; Donnie Phillips of Transfield Services; Wakulla School District Transportation Director Pat Jones; Marj Law; Marge Kinder; Stan Rudd of DOT; Greg Taylor of DOT; Commissioner Mike Stewart; and WCSO PIO and CTST Secretary Keith Blackmar.
In new business, Chairman Jones passed along a request from a citizen asking what it would take to get sidewalks built from the Wakulla County Senior Citizens Center to the Crawfordville Post Office on Wakulla Arran Road and to the U.S. Highway 319 intersection. Citizens using wheelchairs and bicycles on the roadway have the right of way over motorists, but it is a busy and dangerous area.
Stan Rudd and Greg Taylor suggested submitting the sidewalk idea as a DOT grant enhancement project similar to the Panacea area sidewalk projects that are still ongoing. The deadline for the grant cycle is June 1 and board members suggested having Alan Wise of Preble-Rish submit a grant application.
The CTST, PIO Blackmar and Lt. Jones were in contact with Bike Florida over a concern of using Rehwinkel Road as part of the Forgotten Coast Bike Tour in March. Bike Florida sent the CTST a letter stating that they were working with the project contractor to make sure the road was safe to connect to Alexander Road, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Road and back onto U.S. Highway 98 for the tour. Rehwinkel Road is being widened and resurfaced.
The sheriff’s office provided traffic control over two days including the last day of the tour which included more than 600 bicycle riders staying at three locations along U.S. Highway 98 in Medart. The off duty sheriff’s office staff stopped traffic along U.S. 98 at several locations to ensure the safety of the riders. Many of the riders used Rehwinkel Road without incident although several riders used U.S. Highway 98 to connect to the Rail Trail near St. Marks Powder.
The tour went very well and Bike Florida was pleased by the event. Organizers said Wakulla County provided the best service and hospitality for the bike riders in all of the counties they traveled. The bike tour was more than 400 miles long and started in Leon County before traveling to Gadsden, Calhoun, Liberty, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla counties.
While speaking of the bikers and U.S. Highway 98, Pat Jones asked Greg and Stan when the new intersection for U.S. Highway 319 and U.S. Highway 98 will get underway and the answer was in the 2015 planning year.
A citizen in the area of U.S. Highway 319 and Nichols Seafood near Otter Creek requested a speed limit change and no passing zone study for their section of the highway. The request was submitted to Greg Taylor and a speed study and engineering study will be required before a final answer can be submitted to the citizen. The citizen is concerned about the danger of speeding traffic as individuals attempt to get in and out of the seafood business.
• The WCSO has applied for grant money through the Department of Transportation to provide funding for a Teen Driver Improvement Program which, if funded, will help train our future drivers about distracted driving. The grant is designed to reduce the number of teenagers involved in traffic crashes in Wakulla County.
• In the fourth quarter of 2009 through 2010 and 2011, 57 16-year-olds were involved in Wakulla traffic crashes; 79 17-year-olds were involved in crashes; 73 18-year-olds were involved in crashes and 51 19-year-olds were involved in crashes. Thankfully, we did not have any fatalities to report. The grant is valued at $63,000.
• A $285,000 speed control grant will increase our efforts to reduce the number of overall crashes in the county by providing education, technology, saturation patrols, officer training and additional funding for overtime manpower.
• A $30,000 DUI grant will allow the WCSO to focus on enforcement of driving under the influence laws during the months of May through September.
• A $3,000 grant will provide computer software to submit traffic citations electronically to the clerk of the court’s office rather than having to go through the records division at the sheriff’s office.
Wakulla County ranks second in the state in the number of speed related crashes on state highways, according to DOT statistics. WCSO feels confident about successfully acquiring grant funding to address transportation safety issues.
The CTST was in favor of creating a three way stop at Old Bethel Road and Luke Smith Road and the information was passed along to Brent Pell of ESG for further action. Brent Pell alerted the CTST about the dangerous intersection and the visibility issues due to trees and bushes on private property. ESG will prepare an agenda item for the county commission for board consideration at a future meeting.
The road paving project at Old Shell Point Road has been completed and the frequent stop signs seemed to have reduced the traffic speeding problems in the area. However, Wakulla School District Transportation Director Pat Jones expressed concern over the number of stop signs in the area, the number of stops school buses must make and the wear and tear on the buses. The WCSO will continue to monitor the speeds in the newly paved areas.
Marge Kinder expressed concern over the difficulty of seeing the Harvey Mill Road intersection from Crawfordville Highway at night. The committee suggested reflective striping, reflectors or a street light on the corner of the intersection to improve visibility.
The next meeting of the CTST will be held Tuesday, April 17 at 11 a.m. in the Wakulla High School NJROTC classroom.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, FEB. 21, 2012
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session Tuesday, Feb. 21 at the Wakulla High School NJROTC classroom. Those in attendance included: Chairman and Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Billy Jones, Brent Pell of ESG, Alan Wise of Preble Rash, Donnie Phillips of Transfield Services, John Howell of Transfield Services, Commissioner Mike Stewart, Marge Kinder and Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office PIO and CTST Secretary Keith Blackmar.
County public works staff planned to meet with homeowners at The Farm subdivision regarding additional stop signs and calming devices. In reviewing the subdivision request, staff did not feel additional stop signs within the subdivision will have the desired impact of slowing traffic. Traffic calming devices remain as a possibility.
The CTST discussed the possibility of a flashing advance warning sign for the stop sign at Springhill Road and Highway 267. Donnie Phillips expressed concern that the intersection might not have traffic density to merit a flashing light. A few days prior to the CTST meeting a fatal traffic accident was reported on Springhill Road which involved a Tallahassee motorist. But the crash occurred near the Wakulla-Leon county border not near the intersection.
The contractor was issued a notice to proceed on the improvements to Rehwinkel Road Feb. 20. The work began within the following week. The CTST sent a letter to Bike Florida expressing concern for the 600 anticipated bicyclists using Rehwinkel Road on one the final days of the group’s event in late March. The letter helped the county staff, sheriff’s office and Bike Florida to work out safety concerns over the bikers using the road while it was under construction.
A proposal to close Rose Street in Sopchoppy during the April Worming Grunting Festival was discussed. The festival organizers will need to make the road closing request to the Wakulla County Commission.
With the assistance of grant writer Gail Campbell, the WCSO is working on obtaining grants to create teen driving programs for high school students and a related driving program for middle school age children. The CTST and WCSO hope to reduce the number of traffic accidents involving teenage drivers. Gail Campbell has collected statistics revealing a high number of teenage traffic crashes in Wakulla County over the past three years.
Lt. Jones said the WCSO would like to work the educational programs into the school curriculum to reach as many young drivers as possible. He added that driving skills improve when students are exposed to the programs. Areas of focus will include underage drinking, seatbelt usage and distracted drivers.
In a related matter, Alan Wise said he would look into potential grant projects funded by the Department of Transportation that also improve motorist safety and reduce traffic crashes in Wakulla County. DOT offers grants up to $1 million.
The sheriff’s office has not received as many complaints about the U.S. Highway 319 construction project due to the fact that the contractor has been working at night. Lane closures on the highway during the day for a recent project led to scores of complaints being received by the sheriff’s office
The next meeting of the CTST will be held on Tuesday, March 20 at 11 a.m. in the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center conference room. Wakulla High School will be closed for Spring Break. NOTE: The meeting will be held TUESDAY, MARCH 27 at Wakulla High School at 11 a.m. at the NJROTC classroom. It was moved so more members could attend.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2012
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012 at the Wakulla High School NJROTC classroom. Those in attendance included: Chairman Lt. Billy Jones of the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office, Stan Rudd of the Department of Transportation, Greg Taylor of the Department of Transportation, Brent Pell of ESG, Mike Stewart of the Wakulla County Commission, Donnie Phillips of Transfield Services and CTST Secretary and WCSO PIO Keith Blackmar.
In old business, Brent Pell remarked that ESG has received a request from a resident to use stop signs as a method of calming device on Liberty Road in Crawfordville. Liberty Road is a dirt road and has stop signs on both ends. The CTST declined to take action on additional stop signs for the road because regulatory sign manuals recommended not using stop signs as a method to slow traffic.
Songbird subdivision residents in Crawfordville have complained about speeders within the subdivision. The Wakulla County Sheriff’s office will place the speed trailer inside Songbird and citations can be issued for speeders and those who litter in the area.
Brent Pell suggested that the subdivision speed limit of 25 miles per hour may to too low in some places. A traffic count of 1,200 vehicles per day was conducted. The use of traffic calming devices was also discussed, but Wakulla County may not have the funding to complete the project in Songbird and other locations where devices have been requested.
Originally, the CTST supported the idea of a Caution Children Playing sign on P.A. Sanders Road in Sopchoppy. The plan was to erect the sign on the road shortly after motorists come off U.S. Highway 319. However, the idea of erecting the sign was dropped after Department of Transportation officials confirmed that the sign may create a false sense of security for residents on the road and implied safety from speeding vehicles.
In new business, a citizen requested a flashing caution light at the intersection of Highway 267 and Springhill Road. Donnie Phillips suggested an advance stop sign warning light on Springhill Road as motorist approach Highway 267. Greg Taylor and Stan Rudd of the Department of Transportation questioned whether there is enough traffic on Highway 267 to merit a flashing light.
Commissioner Mike Stewart cleared up a question of whether there will be a turn lane on Rainbow Drive for motorists wanting to use the road north of Crawfordville. The road improvement project on U.S. Highway 319 includes a center turn lane for traffic but no specific dedicated turn lane.
Commissioner Stewart also suggested an intersection realignment project with Rainbow Drive and Ivan Church Road in the future to make the two roads that connect to the highway safer. The county will have to acquire some property to be able to realign the two road intersections into one.
Lt. Jones suggested additional parking at Wakulla High School for special events such as graduation and playoff football games. Lt. Jones suggested creating an agreement with Commissioner Jerry Moore to park vehicles on part of his Medart property near the school and reduce the number of vehicles parking along the side of U.S. Highway 98, which is illegal.
The Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office would mark and light the property while also providing escorts for those who are walking across the highway to the stadium. Commissioner Stewart will investigate to determine if Commissioner Moore has any interest in the proposal. Lt. Jones will investigate to determine if the property is high and dry following heavy rains.
The Florida Department of Transportation is offering grant funds for CTST Safety Projects. Stan Rudd said the grant cycle deadline is March 31. Lt. Jones suggested a safety project such as a teen driving challenge.
The U.S. Highway 319 road widening and improvement project by C.W. Roberts continues to use Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office patrol deputies for traffic control. The road has lane closures at night. Lt. Jones reported minor motorist complaints with the project which will conclude in June.
CTST members nominated Commissioner Mike Stewart as the CTST Member of the Year for 2011. Stewart has given the CTST a place to meet each month in the Wakulla High School NJROTC classroom while also providing valuable input on county funding and potential road safety improvements to be considered. Stewart was also on the CTST during the completion of a number of safety projects that have made life easier for Wakulla County motorists. Stewart has been the county commission representative for several years.
The next meeting of the CTST will be held Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 at the NJROTC classroom at Wakulla High School.
NO CTST MEETING HELD IN DECEMBER 2011
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, NOV. 15, 2011
In old business, the new speed zone that was set up on Shadeville Highway near Trice Lane is having a positive impact on traffic approaching the busy Trice Lane residential area.
Brent Pell is working with residents of The Farm subdivision to address a request of placing traffic calming devices in the subdivision to slow motorists. Brent has discovered that the Homeowners Association is divided as to whether to pay for the expense of traffic calming devices or warning signs. The CTST will not make a recommendation to the county commission about traffic calming devices or a sign until the homeowners association is more united on which direction they want to go.
Work has begun on the Old Shell Point Road paving project and Brent Pell requested sheriff’s office road patrols in the area in an effort to slow speeders on the dirt road. Construction zone signs will be erected and the sheriff’s office road patrol unit was notified of the need to step up speed enforcement in the area.
The CTST is very concerned about the potential for a traffic fatality because motorists are traveling faster than the conditions merit.
The fall months increase the number of fatalities along Big Bend roadways in Florida. Wakulla County experienced two traffic fatalities in less than two weeks and others were reported in Leon, Jefferson and Gadsden counties. The Wakulla County fatalities doubled the number for the year from two to four. The CTST hopes everyone will be extra careful on the highways during the colder months of the year.
The resurfacing and widening of Rehwinkel Road will be taking place at the beginning of 2012. The survey results have been received and county officials will be looking at making possible improvements to the intersection of Rehwinkel Road and Alexander Road and Rehwinkel Road and Tafflinger Road. The road is in poor condition.
The CTST discussed the possibility of doing additional road striping. The work stopped recently due to a lack of funding. Some state striping projects have been hampered by materials coming from Asia being scarce.
The DOT added signs at the intersection of Highway 365 and Highway 363 where the roads meet U.S. Highway 98. The signs remind motorists of dangerous intersections where the east-west traffic does not yield for north-south motorists.
The November shoulder mowing has been completed on U.S. Highway 98 and Marj Law asked Greg Taylor to investigate to determine who is cleaning up the highway shoulders after the mowing.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2011
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session Tuesday, Oct. 18 at the Wakulla High School NJROTC classroom. Attending the meeting was: Vice Chairman FHP Trooper Brian Speigner, WCSO Emergency Management Director Scott Nelson, Brent Pell, Mike Stewart, Stan Rudd, Greg Taylor, Donnie Phillips, Alan Wise and Marge Law.
In old business, Brent Pell reported that the bid request for the Wakulla River Upper Bridge fence project will be going out shortly.
The Golf Cart Community on U.S. Highway 98 in Panacea: Wakulla County Commission Chairman Mike Stewart informed the group that per County Attorney Heather Encinosa, the verbiage already exists to allow for signage for golf carts facing U.S. Highway 98. The Golf Cart Community simply needs to work with the county to determine the cost. The Golf Cart Community will be responsible for all costs associated with signage. It was also mentioned by two in the group that they have had recent encounters with golf carts travelling on U.S. Highway 98 in Panacea.
Brent Pell reported that a new speed sign was needed to support the speed limit change near the new day-care facility on Shadeville Highway. Lt. Dale Evans is coordinating the matter for the WCSO.
In new business, the Farm Subdivision was mentioned and a map was provided with potential three and four-way stops to slow traffic moving through the subdivision. Brent Pell will be working with the home owners association to determine if this is supported by the organization. The CTST feels that this solution is a better option than calming devices.
A request has been made to place stop signs on Liberty Road in Crawfordville. Commissioner Stewart mentioned that the problem is 4-wheeler related and that the sign may not have the desired outcome. Law enforcement officers are aware of the situation and will continue attempts to mitigate the problem.
Old Shell Point Road was discussed as it has become a problem since it has been in the paving process. Calming devices are being considered. The need for a caution light along Highway 267 was also discussed.
Donnie Phillips mentioned a concern with the Stone Crab Festival and barricades. The need to follow the permit requirements was stressed. This information has been passed along to law enforcement officers.
Law Enforcement Officer Action Items:
The next meeting of the CTST will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011 at the Wakulla High School NJROTC classroom.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2011
Mark Mitchell appeared before the CTST to discuss the possibility of a golf cart crossing on U.S. Highway 98 in Panacea as part of the Panacea Golf Cart Community. The county commission will have to apply for a crossing permit on behalf of the community. The Panacea Waterfronts Partnership will pay for the cost of acquiring signs to be erected warning golf cart users and motorists about the community and where to operate golf carts.
The county is in line to acquire funding for a sidewalk that will be constructed from the Wakulla County School District office to Crawfordville Elementary School on Arran Road. The funding is part of the 2015 budget although it could be constructed sooner.
The improvements to the U.S. Highway 319 and U.S. Highway 98 intersection will be constructed in 2014.
Complaints have been received regarding vehicles driving in the wrong direction on Bream Fountain Road in Crawfordville. The Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit and Florida Highway Patrol will be increasing enforcement in the area.
The Panacea sidewalk project is waiting for Department of Transportation funding. The project has already been evaluated and would provide a sidewalk from Otter Lake Road through the center of the community to a point southwest of the Crum’s Mini Mall.
The speed limit has been reduced on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Road on the east end near Spring Creek Highway (Highway 365). The road now has a speed reduction from 55 miles per hour to 45 miles per down to 35 miles per hour. Rumble strips will be constructed on the approach to the major intersection with Highway 365. The Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Speed Trailer will be located near the intersection to remind motorists to slow down as they approach the dangerous intersection.
A speed limit reduction has also been approved on the Shadeville Highway near Trice Lane. Signs will soon be erected to note a larger 45 mile per hour zone approaching Trice Lane.
Paul Johnson requested roundabouts as a part of the visioning process for downtown Crawfordville. Statistically, roundabouts are safer than intersections and serve as a traffic calming device. Department of Transportation officials stated that roundabouts would work on some places in the county. A study must determine if they are possible and they must be engineered well to avoid creating bottlenecks.
The speed trailer will be placed on Surf Road in an effort to get motorists to slow down on the narrow road. Complaints have been received about commercial trucks traveling fast on the road. The WCSO will also step up enforcement in the area.
The U.S. Highway 319 third lane construction project will take place during night time hours. The January 2012 project will add a third lane north of Wakulla Arran Road from the existing third lane north of Crawfordville to the Leon County border.
A state DOT grant project to resurface Rehwinkel Road will start before the end of the year. The county is hoping the grant will provide enough funding to widen the road during the resurfacing stage.
The TUESDAY, AUGUST 16, 2011 CTST MEETING has been canceled. The next meeting of the CTST will be held Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 11 a.m. at the Wakulla High School NJROTC classroom.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, JULY 19, 2011
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 in the conference room of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office.
Attending the meeting was CTST Chairman Billy Jones, Stan Rudd, Greg Taylor, Emergency Management Director Scott Nelson, Marg Kinder, Marj Law, Commissioner Mike Stewart, Brent Pell, Alan Wise, FHP Trooper Brian Speigner, Cleve Fleming, Major Maurice Langston, Donnie Phillips, Elliott Varnum and WCSO PIO and CTST Secretary Keith Blackmar.
Commissioner Stewart discussed the possibility of the county commission fencing off and closing the Wakulla River Upper Bridge to eliminate swimming, fishing and jumping off the bridge. The item was brought up at the July 18 county commission meeting and board members asked staff to determine a cost for the fencing proposal.
During a recent weekend, Commissioner Stewart reported between 100 and 150 people on the bridge, in the water, trespassing on the nearby Barwick property and running on the highway. The adjoining property owner reported problems with alcohol and blocked property access with the number of vehicles parked along the side of the highway. The county would not limit access to those who wish to launch a vessel from the site. Discussion also included limiting fishing from the bridge. The CTST membership stated their concern for safety at the location. The bridge was the site of a drowning last year.
Engineer Elliott Varnum discussed the upcoming closing of Cajer Posey Road which will allow a contractor to remove contaminated soil from the Michele’s Convenience Store location off Shadeville Highway. Varnum said he expected the project to take approximately 75 days. Local motorists can use Holiday Drive and trucks have been requested to seek alternate routes. The project will be well marked so motorists can follow detour routes.
The county’s dual left turn lane project is coming close to conclusion. An estimated three more weeks is left for the project which adds the additional lane on U.S. Highway 319 north of McDonald’s restaurant.
The CTST voted unanimously to request a nighttime construction project for the dual left turn lane the state is bidding in September. The construction will begin in January and CTST members feel the night project will provide a safer environment for Wakulla motorists, emergency vehicles and fewer accidents. CTST Secretary Keith Blackmar wrote a letter on behalf of the CTST for Chairman Jones to send to the Florida Department of Transportation to consider the request.
Commissioner Stewart requested a reduction of speed on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Road as it approaches the intersection of Spring Creek Highway. Rumble strips will be added to M.L. King and the speed reduction will be from 55 miles per hour to 45 to 35 as motorists approach the intersection. The speed reduction will begin on the M.L. King curve near the intersection. The CTST unanimously supported the speed reduction plan. The flashing light at the intersection stop sign at M.L. King and Spring Creek Highway was a former CTST safety project.
The mowing width increase for the shoulders of U.S. Highway 98 resulted in recent additional mowing along the side of the road. A compromise was reached between supporters of a wildflower project and the county over safety concerns with overgrown road shoulders and visibility concerns. With more rain, the additional mowing width looked aesthetically better.
The Wakulla Public Works operation, ESG, is hoping to bring a contractor into the county to address the problems of traffic light controllers. Some stop lights have turn lane signals that operate even if the turn lane does not contain a vehicle.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, JUNE 21, 2011
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 in the conference room of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office.
Attending the meeting was CTST Chairman Captain Billy Jones, Stan Rudd, Brent Pell, Greg Taylor, Emergency Management Director Scott Nelson, Marg Kinder, Karen Graves and CTST Secretary and WCSO PIO Keith Blackmar.
The CTST discussed the possible addition of traffic light controllers that could be used to operate intersection traffic lights during times of long power outages. Team members also discussed areas where state Department of Transportation grant funds may be available to assist with safety or storm-related projects.
Budget constraints have limited activity with the county’s public works contractor, ESG, and as a result several safety and road projects have been stalled until the new budget year on Oct. 1. However, ESG will attempt to address the left hand turn signal on U.S. Highway 319 at the Wakulla County Courthouse.
The left hand turn signal illuminates for southbound traffic turning onto Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. whether there is traffic in the turn lane or not. As a result, the northbound traffic on U.S. Highway 319 is delayed even when there isn’t a motorist using the turn lane. ESG will review the matter.
The WCSO has stepped up enforcement at the Wakulla River Upper Bridge due to summer weather. Reports of jumping off the bridge and children jumping in front of motorists have been received. Road patrol deputies have responded to the scene and Public Service Officer Wayne Hicks is expected to patrol with the WCSO Marine Unit as well.
The next meeting of the CTST will be held Tuesday, July 19 at 11 a.m. at the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center conference room.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session at the Wakulla County School Board Bus Garage Tuesday, May 17. Those in attendance included: Chairman WCSO Captain Billy Jones, Brian Speigner, Stan Rudd, Greg Taylor, Pat Jones, Brent Pell, Alan Wise, Trenda McPherson, Robert McPherson and CTST Secretary and WCSO PIO Keith Blackmar.
Captain Jones reported that a number of speeding complaints have been received from the Old Shell Point Road area. The dirt road between Highway 267 and Highway 61 is scheduled to be paved although Wakulla County Commissioners have pushed the project to the 2011-2012 budget year.
Discussion centered on putting traffic calming devices on the road once the paving is completed. Stop signs are also planned for intersections along the road in an effort to make the road safer. Three complaints were recently received from the community complaining of speeding motorists on the road.
The WCSO and ESG are hoping to go through training to get red light traffic signals back in operation during power failures. The county is hoping to retrofit traffic light controllers. The WCSO will train staff members to use chain saws and assist with downed trees and other debris removal during storms to take some of the burden off ESG officials.
The Wakulla County Coalition for Youth is hoping to erect Wakulla County welcome signs on entrances to the county. Greg Taylor of the Florida Department of Transportation said a permit is required and specific design and manufacturing requirements for size and materials are set forth by the Department of Transportation. DOT officials also supervise the installation process.
The national Click it or Ticket campaign May 23 to June 5 will include the use of WCSO message boards thanking Wakulla County motorists for using their seatbelts. Wakulla High School students are also checked for seatbelt use when they leave the school. Captain Jones said the emphasis on seatbelt safety has resulted in a 100 percent compliance rate. Spot checks to see how many motorists are wearing their seatbelts on the highway are also a possibility.
The Florida Public Safety Institute announced that the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office ranks in the top three in Florida in the Florida Law Enforcement Challenge. The challenge reviews law enforcement efforts in developing a comprehensive traffic safety program to allow the department to make a significant and positive impact in the community in reducing traffic related crashes, injuries and fatalities.
The WCSO ranks in the top three in its population category and has a chance to win a drawing for a Challenge vehicle at the Florida Public Safety Institute’s July 22 awards ceremony in Orlando. Sheriff Harvey created the WCSO Traffic Unit as a way to better respond to the needs of Wakulla County residents who were waiting long periods of time to be served by Florida Highway Patrol troopers who were covering multiple counties. WCSO officers were responding to the same crashes and allowing the Florida Highway Patrol to investigate the cases.
WCSO staff has been trained in traffic accident reconstruction as well as laser mapping and other specialty training. The unit has also investigated fatal accidents in the county. As a result, the WCSO investigates more than 90 percent of traffic crashes in the county.
Traffic Unit Deputy Ryan Muse wrote 230 criminal traffic citations last year and the unit wrote 360. The sheriff’s office has worked hard to reduce the number of motorists operating a vehicle without a license or insurance. A recent survey noted that 22 percent of motorists at fault in traffic related fatalities were operating their vehicle on a suspended or revoked driver license.
Wakulla County ranks Number One in the state in motorcycle crashes and injuries inside counties with populations of up to 50,000 people. The county also ranks in the top 25 percent of bicycle injuries and speeders. The CTST hopes to find a way to address the problem. Many of the motorcycle victims were determined to be from outside Wakulla County.
Trenda McPherson requested traffic calming devices in The Farm subdivision to slow motorists. The WCSO Traffic Unit has also been patrolling The Farm. Brent Pell said ESG can put traffic counters out to check speeds and present the calming device request to the county commission to add paved calming devices.
The CTST members thanked member Pat Jones and her WCSB Transportation staff for cooking hamburgers for the committee members.
The next meeting of the CTST will be held Tuesday, June 21 at 11 a.m. at the bus garage.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, APRIL 19, 2011
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session Tuesday, April 19 at the NJROTC classroom at Wakulla High School. Attending the meeting was: Chairman Captain Billy Jones, Mike Stewart, Stan Rudd, Greg Taylor, Emergency Management Director Scott Nelson and Brent Pell.
Engineer Elliott Varnum attended the April meeting and represented a contractor providing information in reference to the Cajer Posey Road closure that is scheduled to occur at the end of May. The road will be closed for approximately 75 days to allow contractors to remove contaminated soil from a nearby gasoline station.
Varnum requested the CTST assist in getting the information about the closure communicated to Emergency Management, EMS, Fire Rescue and the Wakulla County School District Bus Garage. Holiday Drive was suggested as a detour route for local and emergency traffic.
Greg Taylor of the Florida Department of Transportation reported that several stop sign poles in Sopchoppy and Panacea have been stolen. The signs have been replaced and the information has been passed along to the WCSO’s Criminal Investigations Division.
Several former pending CTST projects were discussed and have been completed including: the placement of a flashing red light sign at East Ivan Road and Wakulla Arran Road; stop bars have been installed at the recreation park to help motorists know where to stop at intersections; the restriping of roads has been completed at several county locations; the Tafflinger Road and Rehwinkel Road intersection safety project; and informational safety signs on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Road that reminds motorists that the right lane is for right turns only and the left lane is for left turns and traffic driving onto Arran Road.
DOT has funded the Syfrett Bridge replacement project and the project bid is slated to be let in June. The project could begin as soon as 90 days after the bidding has concluded. The bridge on Highway 375 has needed to be replaced for several years and is on a school bus route.
Commissioner Mike Stewart and Brent Pell discussed the striping of New Light Church Road and the plans for the lengthening of the U.S. Highway 319 “suicide lane” north toward Tallahassee.
The next meeting of the CTST will be held Tuesday, May 17 at 11 a.m. at Pat Jones’ office in the Bus Garage at Wakulla High School rather than in the NJROTC classroom. CTST member Jones said she wanted to share a meal with the safety team members.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 2011
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session Tuesday, March 15 at the NJROTC classroom at Wakulla High School. Attending the meeting was: Chairman Captain Billy Jones, Mike Stewart, Brian Speigner, Marg Kinder, Stan Rudd, Greg Taylor, Emergency Management Director Scott Nelson, Scott McDermid and CTST Secretary and WCSO PIO Keith Blackmar.
The CTST reached an agreement with Wakulla County Commissioner Lynn Artz over mowing the shoulders of U.S. Highway 98 on the Wildflower Pilot Project area from Wakulla High School to Woodville Highway.
The group agreed to increase the amount of area of the shoulder being mowed from six feet to 12 feet in order to address safety concerns over motorists safely pulling off on the side of the road. Commissioner Artz agreed to the increased mowing for 2011 on the nine mile stretch. The commissioner agreed to additional mowing to improve visibility at intersections along the route. Scott McDermid said he will determine if the CTST action will require specific board action or whether the change can be made through the Department of Transportation without a board vote.
The CTST identified three golf cart community crossing areas on U.S. Highway 98 in Panacea. The Wakulla County Commission will consider adopting Panacea as a golf cart community on April 7. The Department of Transportation will have to approve the crossing zones on the highway.
The three areas under consideration for crossings include: an area near Otter Lake Road, an area near Jer Be Lou Drive and a spot near Chattahoochee Street. The request will be sent to June Coates in the DOT’s Chipley office.
Emergency Management Director Scott Nelson gave a report about the March 11 Mass Casualty Bus Exercise held at the Fire Training Center. Captain Billy Jones and Director Nelson attended a “hot wash” discussion following a fatal bus accident in Gadsden County. The Gadsden event gave Wakulla officials an opportunity to create the local exercise which included the sheriff’s office, emergency medical service, firefighters, the health department and the school district.
Director Nelson called the event a success with many lessons learned. He added that the disaster exercise will allow the disaster plan to be altered. “It was a good exercise,” he said. “There were valuable lessons learned.”
Brian Speigner questioned the lack of speed limit signs on Commerce Blvd. near the Wakulla Correctional Institution. Motorists have a long stretch of unmarked speed zones along the road.
In January 2012, the third lane expansion of U.S. Highway 319 north of Crawfordville is expected to be bid. Mike Stewart expressed concern that Florida lawmakers may try to cut the project to save money in the state budget. The county is also planning to chip in funding to do additional third lane work on the highway, Stewart reported.
At the request of Brian Speigner, the CTST will review the speed and passing zones on U.S. Highway 319 between Taff Curve and Lisa Drive. Speigner noted that there is an area of poor visibility due to the roadway going over a hill.
A resident asked about the erection of no parking signs at Shell Point to improve vehicle movement at the county beach. Chairman Jones said he would inform the Public Service Officers of the issue and ask the county’s beach ticket-taker to move up closer to Shell Point Road when collecting beach money.
Mike Stewart said he would speak to Cleve Fleming about pending CTST project discussions to make sure projects do not fall through the cracks.
The next meeting of the CTST will be Tuesday, April 19 at 11 a.m. at the NJROTC classroom at Wakulla High School.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, FEB. 15, 2011
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session Tuesday, Feb. 15 at the Wakulla High School NJROTC classroom. Attending the meeting were Chairman Captain Billy Jones, Stan Rudd, Brent Pell, Greg Taylor, Scott McDermid, Mike Stewart, Trooper Brian Speigner, Cleve Fleming, Pat Jones and WCSO PIO and CTST Secretary Keith Blackmar.
Wakulla County Commissioner Lynn Artz appeared before the CTST to discuss the wildflower zone and no mowing area on U.S. Highway 98 from Medart to Highway 363. CTST members expressed concerns about safety issues related to only mowing six feet of the shoulder in order to allow the wildflowers to grow.
In February and November, the Department of Transportation allows a full width cutting of the shoulders while every other month of the year mowing is restricted to six feet. Commissioner Artz asked the CTST to reach a compromise over the mow zone. Cleve Fleming suggested mowing the front part of the shoulder slope as county staff does on county roads.
In addition to safety concerns, CTST members stated that the un-mowed shoulder encouraged trash build-up and was unsightly for motorists. The issue will be addressed again at the March meeting.
A new flashing red light stop sign is in the planning stages at the East Ivan Road and Wakulla Arran Road intersection.
CTST Secretary Keith Blackmar was nominated and approved as the CTST Member of the Year for 2010. He created an Internet presence for the CTST on the WCSO web site which has attracted more than 2,400 Internet impressions (hits) in less than one year. The site has given residents an opportunity to express their concerns about traffic safety to the WCSO Traffic Unit. The Traffic Unit assisted a concerned citizen address speeding 18 wheel trucks along Highway 267 near Wakulla Springs State Park by increasing patrols in the area and making a number of traffic stops.
The CTST received an appreciative thank you note from the resident who stated a concern about older motorists getting struck by the speeding trucks as they pass through Wakulla County. Blackmar has also created a comprehensive record of meeting minutes where residents can access information from their home computers as well as contact the chairman of the CTST.
Newer control boxes give county officials several choices of setting traffic lights and turn signals depending on the time of the day, traffic flow and other specific desires.
The St. Valentine’s Day Parade was attended by all six Public Service Officers (PSO) who donated their time to assist the sheriff’s office. The PSOs provided the sheriff’s office with “the most help we’ve ever had,” according to Captain Jones. With the help of six to eight reserve deputies, the sheriff’s office had the safest parade ever due to the number of volunteers manning the intersections and diverting traffic until the parade was over.
The PSOs have also been assisting the Animal Control Unit in addressing animals struck by vehicles. Public Safety Director Scott McDermid expressed thanks to the PSOs for helping the county since there are only two animal control officers available on staff.
CTST members suggested adding traffic calming devices to Old Shell Point Road as the road nears the beginning of a paving project from Highway 267 to Highway 61. The Highway 61 entrance will also be slightly altered in an effort to make it safer where Old Shell Point Road meets Highway 61. The county is clearing the right of way in anticipation of the paving project.
Several delineators are being knocked over at the intersection of U.S. Highway 319 and Highway 267. The sheriff’s office will begin to work enforcement in the area to catch motorists who simply drive over them to make an illegal turn.
A project to add gravel to the roads in Wakulla Gardens is nearly complete.
County commissioners will be asked to set a public hearing on the golf cart ordinance at the Feb. 28 board meeting. The speed limit on roads where golf carts operate is 25 miles per hour except on Bottoms Road which is 35 miles per hour.
The Department of Transportation is targeting 2014-2015 as they year the U.S. Highway 98 and U.S. Highway 319 intersection will be moved. The new intersection will include a traffic signal and intersect with U.S. Highway 98 near the Wakulla High School bus parking entrance and the WHS softball complex.
The March meeting of the CTST will be held Tuesday, March 15 at the NJROTC classroom at Wakulla High School. The April meeting will be held Tuesday, April 19 at Pat Jones’ office at the bus garage. Both meetings will be held at 11 a.m.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, JAN. 18, 2011
Scott McDermind reported that the golf cart community ordinance was being drafted with annual inspections of golf carts to be included. McDermid plans to bring the item in front of the Wakulla County Commission in February. WCSO Public Service Officers will conduct the inspections. The ordinance was in response to the creation of a Panacea golf cart community.
The red light security cameras will be sent to the Wakulla County Commission for consideration. County staff requested Sheriff David Harvey submit the item to the board. A suggestion to erect the cameras at the intersections of Highway 267 and Highway 319 and Highway 267 and Highway 363 as a starting point was made.
The CTST has asked the county commission to consider taking a new vote to mow the grass on the side of U.S. Highway 98 from Medart to Highway 363. The shoulders became unsafe for motorists in 2010 with tall weeds and became unsightly with weeds and trash. Commissioners will have to vote to change their wildflower designation which limited the amount of mowing that could be done on the side of the road. Members noted that very few wildflowers were observed during growing season and motorists could not see wildlife or pedestrians standing on the side of the road.
The CTST decided not to make any changes to the dangerous Cedar Avenue and Oak Street intersection near Hudson Park and U.S. Highway 319. The safety team could not come up with a solution to make the intersection safer without closing Oak Street on the southern end.
The PSO Program will graduate six unpaid employees to help paid deputies with less serious calls. The Public Service Officers completed 40 hours of riding with deputies as well as 80 hours of field training. The candidates passed an interview and background check phase as well.
A grant has been submitted to the Department of Transportation to provide a new sidewalk from the school district office on Arran Road to Crawfordville Elementary School. DOT officials feel the county has a good opportunity to acquire the project funding.
A street light and flashing light will be added at the Rehwinkel Road intersection with Tafflinger Road. Contractors recently built speed calming devices on Tafflinger Road. Road paint has been added and improvements have also been completed on Bream Fountain Road.
A No U-Turn sign request was denied by the DOT at U.S. Highway 98 and Jack Crum Road. The WCSO will create more enforcement against Wakulla High School students who are using the area as a dangerous U-Turn zone to avoid the U.S. Highway 319 and U.S. Highway 98 intersection.
A sidewalk enhancement project may be considered from the Senior Citizens Center to the Crawfordville Post Office or U.S. Highway 319 if demand warrants the projects.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, DEC. 21, 2010
A special guest at the meeting was Brad Swanson, Business Development Director for American Traffic Solutions, who gave members a PowerPoint presentation on Intersection Safety Cameras.
Sheriff David Harvey also attended the beginning of the meeting and told CTST members that he is considering seeking intersection safety cameras not only to reduce the number of motorists who violate traffic laws, but as a way to track suspects who commit crimes.
Sheriff Harvey added that the cameras could have been used to track suspect vehicles in major homicide cases such as the Sheila Porter case in the late 1970s that may have resulted in her life being saved. “We would certainly use them way beyond traffic violators,” said the sheriff.
American Traffic Solutions (ATS) is one of the vendors serving Florida with many customers in South Florida and Central Florida. ATS has one client in Jackson County in the Panhandle. However, Milton and Gulf Breeze are communities getting ready to add programs.
Swanson explained that the Intersection Safety Camera Program allows local jurisdictions to enforce traffic laws on city, county and state roads. Police officials verify and authorize violations and the violator has access to court. The program is a self-funding system with no new taxation required. It has a low impact on government since the majority of the service is outsourced.
The cameras allow a more effective use of existing police resources and provide an effective deterrent to red-light running. The featured vendor has more than 65 Florida Road Safety Programs already in place.
According to 2009 Florida crash statistics, 5,190 people were injured in crashes where drivers disregarded the traffic signal and 56 people were killed. Nationally, there were more than 1,000 people killed in intersection crashes. Nationally, there are two million violations annually.
Swanson explained about the technology used and the process for a violator to respond to the citations. Safety trends in cities like New York and Philadelphia experienced more than a 70 percent drop in violations, with similar trends in all cities. Video clips of accidents are available to law enforcement.
There was a small increase in the number of rear end accidents when intersection safety cameras are erected, but Swanson said the increase flattens out as motorists get used to the cameras.
In other matters in front of the CTST:
An ordinance is being drafted for the Panacea Golf Cart Community which will include an inspection and permit process. Sheriff’s Office Public Service Officers (PSO) may be used to register golf carts after an inspection. The fee amount, if any is charged, and decision on a decal will be made by the Wakulla County Commission. Golf cart users at Shell Point will have to be included in the process at some point as well.
Residents near Songbird Avenue have requested traffic calming devices in the Crawfordville community. It was suggested by Brent Pell that the requesting party come to a future CTST meeting to be briefed on the criteria for speed calming devices and how the Department of Transportation determines speed limits on roads. Songbird Avenue qualified for a 35 mile per hour speed limit after a traffic study was done. The post speed limit is 25 miles per hour.
The CTST will address the roadside mowing along U.S. Highway 98 and related safety issues at the January meeting.
Scott Nelson brought up safety concerns at Cedar Avenue and Oak Street where an intersection redesign may be necessary.
The next meeting of the CTST will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 11 a.m. at the NJROTC room at Wakulla High School.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, NOV. 16, 2010
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 11 a.m. at Wakulla High School NJROTC classroom. Attending the meeting were CTST Chairman and WCSO Captain Billy Jones, Brent Pell, Mike Stewart, Alan Wise, Stan Rudd, Marge Kinder, Marj Law and WCSO PIO and CTST Secretary Keith Blackmar.
In old business, the CTST discussed permitting and inspection of golf carts and the proposed Panacea Golf Cart Community. After the CTST gives final recommended approval, the proposed golf cart community will go before the Wakulla County Commission for final approval. Details about the golf cart community will be reported by CTST member Scott McDermid at the December meeting.
In new business, the CTST discussed the positives and negatives of installing red light security cameras at Wakulla County intersections. The cameras have the potential to discourage motorists, particularly out of town motorists, from running red lights. A PowerPoint presentation from American Traffic Solutions is planned for the December CTST meeting.
The CTST discussed safety issues related to an October fatal car crash at the Wakulla Shrine Club on U.S. Highway 319. The sheriff’s office will discuss potential traffic control issues with the Shrine Club for future events. An out of town guest at a wedding reception followed closely behind a departing relative and was struck by a motorist as she pulled onto the highway. The accident resulted in two fatalities and three other injuries.
Stan Rudd recommended the county apply for federal money available to create sidewalks near local schools. A sidewalk project was suggested for Crawfordville Elementary School along Arran Road.
A traffic safety improvement will be made at Rehwinkel Road and Tafflinger Road following the completion of the road paving of Concord Road and Bream Fountain Road just outside Crawfordville. The proposed change includes a stop sign and road markings on Rehwinkel Road where it meets Tafflinger to improve safety. The improvements should be completed by Christmas.
The next meeting of the CTST will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 11 a.m. at the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center conference room. The CTST meeting location was changed due to Christmas break at the high school.
Trooper Speigner clocked speeders in the Springhill Road and Guy Strickland Road area and determined that several motorists were traveling above the speed limit. A Reduced Speed Ahead sign was requested for Springhill Road and the road stripes will be changed for better safety when the painting contractor comes to Wakulla County.
The county road and bridge department has a large list of roads that need to be painted with new road stripes. The project should begin in just a few weeks. Captain Jones requested Aucilla St. and Tower Rd. be added to the painting list.
The Panacea Golf Cart Community request is expected to be heard by the Wakulla County Commission at the Nov. 1 meeting. The request is coming from the Panacea waterfronts Committee. The CTST recommends that golf carts be inspected and permitted to make sure they follow state guidelines to be considered a golf cart. The Panacea committee is seeking designation as a Golf Cart Community in two locations since state law does not allow golf carts to cross U.S. Highway 98.
The CTST continues to discuss ways to make Rehwinkel Road safer for motorists. Two solutions are being considered including a stop sign for westbound traffic on Rehwinkel Road as it approaches the recently paved Tafflinger Road or a three way stop sign at Rehwinkel Road where it meets Tafflinger. The CTST is also considering stopping Rehwinkel Road where it meets Tafflinger and creating a new section of Tafflinger Road where it meets Rehwinkel and continues to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Road. Flashing signs and traffic calming devices are also recommended.
The CTST has received traffic complaints about northbound motorists using the Winn-Dixie southbound turn lane to turn into Ameris Bank on U.S. Highway 319.
The Wakulla High School NJROTC cleaning crew on Rehwinkel Road picked up numerous whiskey bottles along the side of the road during a recent cleanup and a DUI checkpoint has been requested for Rehwinkel.
Bus Safety Week recently passed and the CTST is considering sponsoring a cookout for Wakulla school bus drivers. The CTST will also present certificates of appreciation to the drivers. The CTST may also help expand a bus driver appreciation event already planned by Transportation Director Pat Jones.
The speed limit reduction request for the Spring Creek Highway and U.S. Highway 98 intersection was rejected by the Florida Department of Transportation. The CTST suggested lowering the speed limit at the intersection from 55 miles per hour to 45 miles per hour. U.S. Highway 98 has a speed reduction from 60 miles per hour to 55 miles per hour as motorists approach the intersection with Spring Creek Highway, also known as Highway 365.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, SEPT. 21, 2010
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session Tuesday, Sept. 21 at the Wakulla High School NJROTC room. Attending the meeting was: Chairman Captain Billy Jones, Stan Rudd, Brian Speigner, WCSO PIO and CTST Secretary Keith Blackmar, Commissioner Mike Stewart, Cleve Fleming, Pat Jones and Emergency Management Director Scott Nelson.
Captain Jones asked for an update of old business and Cleve Fleming said the road striping project for Springhill Road and Guy Strickland Road is planned when a contractor is brought into the county to paint other road lines. The CTST hopes to improve safety for motorists getting on and off of Guy Strickland Road.
A Department of Transportation (DOT) study has been requested to reduce the speed limit at the intersection of U.S. Highway 98 and Highway 365 (Spring Creek Highway) from 55 miles per hour to 45 miles per hour. The speed limit on either side of the 55 miles per hour zone on U.S. Highway 98 is 60 miles per hour.
The Panacea Waterfronts Florida Partnership has requested an opportunity to create a golf cart community in Panacea. Since golf carts are not allowed to cross a state highway, the partnership is requesting two different golf cart areas. Stan Rudd reported that the state is looking into golf cart regulations since golf cart communities have become a hot issue statewide. The CTST will develop a golf cart standard for the Panacea community similar to requirements in place at Shell Point and the request will eventually be considered by the Wakulla County Commission.
The CTST discussed ways to make Rehwinkel Road and Tafflinger Road safer. Traffic calming devices and a three way stop sign were discussed, but the CTST thought the idea of a stop sign on Rehwinkel Road as it approaches Tafflinger from the east would be a better option. This would leave Tafflinger Road without a stop sign.
The CTST has also received complaints from motorists who are concerned about safety on the U.S. Highway 98 end of Rehwinkel Road at Harvey-Melton Road. Brim Fountain and Concord roads off of Rehwinkel Road are in the process of being paved by the county commission. Brim Fountain will become a one-way street eastward from the county offices once the road is paved.
Commissioner Stewart told the group that a third lane or suicide lane is expected to be constructed on U.S. Highway 319 by the end of 2011 that would include the area from McDonald’s Restaurant at Wakulla Arran Road to Rainbow Drive and eventually the area to Wal-Mart. The improvements could eliminate serious accidents such as a recent crash near the Mexican restaurant that nearly took the life of a motorist.
Pixie Circle residents have complained about speeding motorists. Speed calming devices may be the answer if subdivision residents want them.
The next meeting of the CTST will be held Tuesday, Oct. 19 at 11 a.m. at the NJROTC room at Wakulla High School.
CTST MEETING TUESDAY, AUG. 17, 2010
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session on Tuesday, Aug. 17 at the WCSO. Attending the meeting was: Chairman Captain Billy Jones, Stan Rudd, Greg Taylor, Brian Speigner, Scott McDermid, Brent Pell, Joe Hope, Sgt. John Zarate, Jerry Moore and WCSO PIO and CTST Secretary Keith Blackmar.
Former CTST Chairperson Pat Jones was recognized by the CTST in front of the Wakulla County Commission Monday, Aug. 16 for her years of service to the group. The county commission also approved a speed reduction recommendation from the CTST on Shadeville Highway between Trice Lane and Griffin Road.
The changes included: Approaching from the east on Shadeville Highway—a reduction of speed from 55 miles per hour to 45 miles per hour immediately following Griffin Road. A reduction in speed from 45 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour immediately preceding Hale’s Small Engine Repair. Maintaining of 35 mile per hour speed limit on highway until reaching U.S. Highway 319. Approaching from the west on Shadeville Highway—Extend the 35 mile per hour speed limit to Hale’s Small Engine Repair. Increase the speed limit to 45 miles per hour until passing Griffin Road and increase speed limit to 55 miles per hour after Griffin Road. County staff will post speed limit signs in the appropriate locations. The commission vote to approve the request was unanimous.
In other items in front of the CTST:
Chairman Jones will create a letter of support for the county commission to sign stating their desire for the Panacea Sidewalk Project to move forward with funding. The letter of support is required by the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT), the funding agency.
A speed reduction request for the Spring Creek Highway and U.S. Highway 98 intersection is pending in front of DOT. The CTST has supported the lowering of the speed limit at the intersection to 45 miles per hour to reduce the danger at the intersection.
The CTST has asked the county commission to approve a change of road striping at Springhill Road and Guy Strickland Road to improve the safety factor for motorists getting off Springhill onto Guy Strickland.
The WCSO Traffic Unit has been running radar at all of the school zones with the opening of school on Aug. 12. The traffic unit worked traffic enforcement at the high school early in the morning and moved to the elementary schools later in the morning. High school students that drive recklessly lose their driving privileges and are required to ride the school bus for a week.
The Traffic Unit will be working the school zones and football games during the fall War Eagle gridiron season with reserve officers. The crew will be going to games early to help fans with their parking needs.
Chairman Jones suggested the WCSO Traffic Unit acquire two chainsaws to help with road hazards when needed. The action should take some of the pressure off county staff when trees and limbs block roadways.
Florida Highway Patrol crash statistics from 2009 through the middle of 2010 noted that Highway 267 and U.S. Highway 319 recorded the most traffic crashes in Wakulla County. DOT officials have created new safety features at the intersection in an attempt to make the busy intersection safer.
DOT officials are picking up political signs that are posted in the road right of ways. The signs are stored at the DOT office in Midway until they are disposed of in the DOT dumpster.
Friday, Oct. 1 is the target date for the opening of the new Gretchen Evans Bridge that will replace the old bridge over the Wakulla River at T-n-T Canoe Rental.
The next CTST meeting will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 21 at 11 a.m. at the NJROTC classroom at Wakulla High School.
WAKULLA COUNTY TRAFFIC UNIT CRASH ANALYSIS
With nearly seven months of statistics compiled the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit counted 266 automobile crashes in Wakulla County. The count covered Jan. 1, 2010 through July 20, 2010.
The Traffic Unit wrote up 124 of the accidents as “Long Form” crashes and 142 were written up as “Short Form” crashes with the long form crashes being more serious.
With a heavy flow of traffic on U.S. Highway 319, the Traffic Unit discovered that 93 of the crashes or 34.96 percent occurred on U.S. 319. The highest concentration of crashes occurred at the intersection of Crawfordville Highway and Wakulla Arran Road.
The second highest concentration of traffic crashes occurred on Coastal Highway 98 with a total of 29 crashes. The crash total is 10.9 percent of the total in the county. The highest concentration of crashes on Coastal Highway 98 occurred at the intersection of Coastal Highway and Spring Creek Highway.
The traffic unit discovered that the afternoon peak travel period from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. had the highest percentage of traffic crashes as 24.81 percent occurred at that time. The second highest crash time was the morning peak period of 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. when 16.91 percent of the traffic crashes were reported.
The three busiest months of the first seven in 2010 were March, June and May respectively.
MONDAY, AUG.2, 2010 WAKULLA COUNTY COMMISSION CHAMBERS
Sgt. Mike Helms was selected as the Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) Member of the Year for 2009. Members of the CTST recognized Helms at the Wakulla County Commission meeting on Monday, Aug. 2. Sgt. Helms was recognized for his outstanding and dedicated effort to assist in completing a number of public safety projects in the county.
It has been through the work of the CTST and Sgt. Helms that safety improvements and realignments have been made to several dangerous intersections and traffic lights have been erected to control traffic at other intersections.
The award was presented by CTST Chairman Captain Billy Jones with several members of the committee present to recognize Sgt. Helms.
In other CTST business, member Scott McDermid issued a status report regarding the committee’s suggestions to make safety improvements at the Wakulla River Upper Bridge location where illegal swimming and fishing have been taking place.
CTST member Pat Jones was not present for the Aug. 2 meeting, but she will be recognized for her multiple years of serving as the CTST Chair before Captain Jones took over in early 2010.
At the Monday, Aug. 16 county commission meeting, the CTST will request board action to reduce the speed limit on Shadeville Highway in the congested area near Trice Lane. A 55 mile per hour zone will be reduced to 45 mph and a 45 mph zone will be reduced to 35 as motorists approach Crawfordville.
CTST MEETING HELD ON TUESDAY, JULY 20, 2010
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met in regular session on Tuesday, July 20 at the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Accreditation Room. Chairman WCSO Captain Billy Jones presided over the meeting with FHP Trooper Brian Speigner, Secretary Keith Blackmar, Stan Rudd, Brent Pell, Greg Taylor, Jeff Brittain, Scott McDermid, Pat Jones and Marge Kinder attending.
Member McDermid will be making a presentation to the Wakulla County Commission on Aug. 2 regarding conditions at the Wakulla River Upper Bridge. Following a death at the bridge in April, the number of individuals jumping from the bridge has decreased. Swimmers are still using the north end of the river for recreational purposes despite no actual recreation area near the bridge. Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office personnel continue to patrol the location and make people aware that the site is not a recreation area.
McDermid will also appear before the county commission to give the board a summary of what the CTST has been working on over the past months and make an awards presentation of the CTST Member of the Year.
The CTST also discussed speed reduction plans for Shadeville Highway and Spring Creek Highway at dangerous intersections.
The Shadeville Highway location speed reduction request will be submitted from a location east of Hale’s Small Engine Repair west to Trice Lane. The reduction in the area will be 45 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour. A new day care center and the temporary courthouse will be located at and near the new community center.
The Spring Creek Highway and U.S. Highway 98 intersection will be proposed for a reduction from 55 miles per hour to 45 miles per hour in an effort to make the intersection safer. Both speed reduction requests will be presented to the county commission for final approval.
The next meeting of the CTST will be held the third Tuesday in August, Aug. 17 at 11 a.m., at the Wakulla County School District Bus Barn.
CTST MEETING HELD ON TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 2010
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met on Tuesday, June 15 in regular session. Chairman Billy Jones presided over the meeting with members Marge Kinder, Greg Taylor, Stan Rudd, Brent Pell, Marj Law, Scott McDermid and Joe Hope attending.
Stan Rudd of Florida Department of Transportation reported that the Syfrett Bridge improvement project was on a repair list for an undetermined future date. CTST members expressed concern about school buses and other heavy vehicular traffic using the bridge which is in need of repair.
Calming devices were discussed for Rehwinkel Road and Tafflinger Road and the CTST decided to bring a request to the county commission for funding approval in August. Members expressed concern about vehicular speed from Rehwinkel Road to Tafflinger since Tafflinger has become paved.
At the same commission meeting, the CTST will honor the 2009 CTST Member of the Year and provide a brief synopsis of what the CTST has been working on this year.
A speed reduction was discussed at the Spring Creek Highway and U.S. Highway 98 intersection for increased safety. The Florida Department of Transportation will be conducting a survey at the location to obtain information for submission to the state.
Speed reduction was also discussed for Shadeville Highway from Hale’s Small Engine Repair to Trice Lane due to the new community center and day care facility nearby.
New road striping was discussed for Springhill Road near Guy Strickland Road to help motorists properly and safely merge into traffic before passing Guy Strickland Road.
The Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office speed trailer was moved to Otter Lake Road in Panacea due to traffic complaints related to speed. The trailer has also been deployed on Rehwinkel Road to show motorists their speed as they pass Harvey-Young Farm.
A message board was placed near Camp Indian Springs to caution motorists about summer camp being in session.
The Wakulla River Upper Bridge was discussed and the CTST was informed that multiple security checks have been conducted by Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office patrol deputies. In addition, Deputy Carl Allen of the Marine Unit has been on patrol in the area.
The increased and cooperative patrol efforts have resulted in a limited number of complaints being received and a safer area for motorists and boaters.
The next meeting of the CTST will be held on Tuesday, July 20 at 11 a.m. in the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office EOC Conference Room. The CTST meets the third Tuesday of every month.
CTST MEETING HELD ON TUESDAY, MAY 18, 2010
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) met Tuesday, May 18 at the Wakulla County School District Bus Garage. Members attending the meeting included: Chairman Captain Billy Jones, Secretary Keith Blackmar, Brian Speigner, Pat Jones, Mike Stewart, Brent Pell, Greg Taylor, Stan Rudd and Scott McDermid.
Scott McDermid reported that he discussed the upper Wakulla River Bridge safety situation with Wakulla Springs State Park Manager Brian Fugate. McDermid reported that Fugate was not receptive to the idea of the state acquiring the property near the Wakulla River fence.
Mike Stewart suggested the CTST send a letter to Florida Rep. Marti Coley’s office requesting funding for the Syfrette Creek Bridge replacement on Highway 375 between Sopchoppy and Smith Creek.
The CTST discussed the possibility of restriping Springhill Road or creating a turn lane for motorists attempting to get on to Guy Strickland Road. A deceleration lane was also discussed on Highway 267. Captain Jones said the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office speed trailer can be moved to the location to slow the traffic down.
A number of complaints have been received from the Tafflinger Road area regarding speeding on the newly paved road. The sheriff’s office has been very busy patrolling the road. Mike Stewart suggested installing traffic calming devices or other traffic slowing designs that have been used successfully elsewhere.
The CTST also discussed the possibility of creating a three way stop on Rehwinkel Road where it intersects with Tafflinger.
Brian Speigner brought up concerns over the parking at the recreation park in Medart. A number of park users are parking improperly and creating a danger to young children going back and forth from their vehicles to the fields. The CTST hopes the county can improve the parking signage.
Captain Jones expressed concern about the drop-off of a drainage area near Walgreens and Capital City Bank that contains large rocks. DOT officials will be checking on the Mineral Springs and the U.S. Highway 319 drainage ditch concerns.
The DOT is entering the final months of planning to realign and relocate the U.S. Highway 319 and U.S. Highway 98 intersection to a spot near the entrance to the Wakulla High School bus garage and bus loading areas a short distance east of the existing intersection. Changes should become visible in the next 12 to 18 months.
Gov. Charlie Crist signed the red light camera bill into law and the intersection cameras will be permitted through the Department of Transportation.
CTST MEETING HELD ON TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 2010
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) held its monthly meeting at the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office conference room in the Emergency Operations Center Tuesday, April 20.
The CTST held a discussion about the Panacea sidewalk project which was continued from the March meeting. The sidewalk project is proposed from Otter Lake Road south to the medical center and west to the Panacea Women’s Club (community center). The sidewalks will be on the west side of U.S. Highway 98 and continue north to the U.S. Post Office.
The topic of relocating a streetlight to the intersection of Trice Lane and Shadeville Highway was addressed. The light will be moved closer to the intersection for better safety.
The WCSO Traffic Unit responded to complaints in Wakulla Station where trucks were traveling on Highway 267 with their lights off and speeding. The unit contacted area businesses to make them aware of the problem as well as conducting a number of traffic stops in the area. The CTST now has a contact e-mail of Captain Jones on the WCSO web site if members of the community want to express traffic concerns.
At the request of CTST member Scott McDermid a meeting will be held to brainstorm ideas to address the problems at the Wakulla River upper bridge. The meeting will include CTST members, county staff and Brian Fugate of Wakulla Springs State Park.
The possibility of having the state purchase the two acre Parrish Barwick parcel to create a park, proper launch area and restroom facilities was aired. The CTST has identified the project as the second highest priority behind funding the Panacea sidewalk project.
The CTST placed the Syfrette Creek Bridge replacement project on the Smith Creek Highway as the third ranked project. Since a temporary bridge must be constructed to accommodate traffic while a new bridge is constructed, the estimated cost of the project could reach $1 million. A school bus transports school children over the bridge and CTST members said the bridge is probably getting more traffic weight than it should be handling.
Jerry Moore asked the CTST to consider a golf cart community for the west side of U.S. Highway 98 and on Bottoms Road. The designation may include the Otter Lake Road area to Chattahoochee Street and the isolated Bottoms Road area.
The next meeting of the CTST will be held Tuesday, May 18 at 11 a.m. in the EOC conference room.
CTST MEETING HELD ON TUESDAY, MARCH 16, 2010
The Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) held its monthly meeting at the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office conference room in the Emergency Operations Center Tuesday, March 16.
The volunteer organization meets once a month on the third Tuesday of the month and the meetings are open to the public.
CTST Chair Pat Jones has served the team as chair for six years. She turned the duties of chairman over to WCSO Traffic Unit Captain Billy Jones. WCSO Public Information Officer Keith Blackmar was selected to serve as CTST Secretary replacing Marj Law. The team did not have a vice chairman under Pat Jones. However, the team selected Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Brian Speigner to serve as vice chairman.
The discussion items began with the “old business” of a request from Panacea to be considered as a golf cart community. The Wakulla County Commission grants golf cart community status through a public hearing process.
The CTST members were concerned about creating a community in Panacea, which is linked to a federal highway, U.S. Highway 98. County commissioners granted golf cart community status to the Shell Point area several years ago.
In Panacea the request includes the Bottoms Road area, possibly a portion of the center of Panacea and perhaps the Ochlockonee Bay community. But state and federal laws apply to use of U.S. Highway 98. The CTST asked that the matter be sent to the Panacea Waterfronts Committee to determine the extent of the golf cart community interest.
The CTST will be putting the matter of a Panacea sidewalk project on the April 19 agenda. CTST members are determining the most appropriate places for the sidewalks. Eight residents of Panacea use motorized wheelchairs to conduct local business and are required to ride the side of the roadway now.
Grant funds for the project could be identified. Ultimately, it will be up to the county commission to seek the grant funding and approve the concept. Reimbursement is on a two to three year cycle. The CTST has also looked into sidewalks for the Crawfordville area.
The team is working to adjust the location of a streetlight at the intersection of Trice Lane and Shadeville Highway. The light will be erected on the east side of the intersection to illuminate the busy traffic area.
Team members agreed to the creation of a section of the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office web site for CTST issues. The menu item has been created and the site is already active with hits from the public being calculated.
The CTST will create a way for the public to express locations of safety concerns in Wakulla County. The Wakulla CTST has been operating since 1999.
The team will also consider honoring a member of the team as a CTST Member of the Year.
The next meeting will be held Tuesday, April 20 at 11 a.m. at the WCSO EOC conference room.