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Wakulla Times Article--Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST)--August 2011


CTST Works To Make Wakulla Roads Safer

By Sheriff David Harvey

This month I want to talk about a group of people who volunteer their time to make the roads in Wakulla County safer for everyone. I am talking about a small group of men and women who form the Wakulla County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST).

These volunteers represent several agencies including the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT), ESG which is the firm that handles Wakulla County’s public works needs, Wakulla EMS, the Wakulla School District, Wakulla County Commission, Florida Highway patrol and the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office. Three members of my staff are part of the CTST including: Chairman Captain Billy Jones of the Traffic Unit, Public Information Officer Keith Blackmar who serves as CTST secretary and maintains the CTST’s web presence through the WCSO web site and Emergency Management Director Scott Nelson.

Image This group of volunteers meets once a month to discuss transportation projects as they relate to safety issues. Through the work of the CTST, grant funds have been acquired to make safety changes in intersection design and traffic lights have been erected at intersections following the input from this committee.

At the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office we pride ourselves in being responsive to the needs of our residents. The CTST has the same goal and works with the public to address concerns when they are unearthed and brought before the committee.

A resident recently saw the CTST meeting minutes posted at www.wcso.org and contacted Chairman Captain Jones to express concerns about speeding tractor trailer trucks zooming along Highway 267. After the resident aired his concern to Captain Jones, the Traffic Unit spent several days along the highway stopping speeding truckers and explaining the danger motorist’s face as they cross the highway near Wakulla Springs State Park, Highway 61 or Old Shell Point Road.

The volunteer organization has been critical in addressing traffic and transportation safety concerns while spearheading efforts to get projects funded and completed.
The CTST has been active in helping develop sidewalk projects in Panacea and Crawfordville to make the two communities more pedestrian friendly. The group has kept watch over state funding to replace the Syfrette Creek Bridge in the western portion of the county near Smith Creek. The old and damaged bridge, although in a remote location of the county, provides an important connection from Sopchoppy to Smith Creek and Tallahassee and is also a transportation link for a school bus that takes students to Wakulla schools in the shortest amount of time possible. We must always think about safety when it relates to transporting our children.

The CTST web site gives contact information for Captain Jones which allowed the Traffic Unit to be alerted to the tractor trailers that were speeding along Highway 267 and were becoming a threat to the safety of local motorists on their commute to Tallahassee or Wakulla Springs State Park. The unit was able to slow down the truck traffic and make travel safer for motorists using Highway 267 and Highway 61.

With budget concerns and cuts looming, the CTST pushed to have several county roadways striped with paint to make it safer for motorists. The group has addressed safety issues around the Wakulla River Upper Bridge where a drowning took place in 2010.

Speed reductions were implemented along Shadeville Highway near the thickly settled area around Trice Lane and the county’s community center where a day care and many residential homes are located.

The CTST has worked with members of the Shell Point and Panacea communities to assist in creating golf cart communities. Members of the public have also appeared before the CTST to request traffic calming devices in an effort to slow down vehicles and make residential areas safer for motorists and children.

The CTST has also listened to a vendor presentation to determine if Wakulla County would make a good candidate for red light safety cameras at any of the county’s major intersections.
Two members of my staff, Sgt. Mike Helms and Public Information Officer Keith Blackmar, have been recognized as the last two CTST Members of the Year for their contributions and dedication to the committee.

Captain Billy Jones of the WCSO Traffic Unit is serving in his second year as chairman of the traffic safety team following several years of dedicated service by Wakulla County School District Transportation Director Pat Jones who did a magnificent job leading the group in the years after it was formed. Wakulla County Commissioner Mike Stewart serves as the county commission representative on the board and has opened his NJROTC classroom to the committee to meet when school is in session.

We appreciate the extra effort that members of our community make when they volunteer to serve on non-paid committees and we know that it is through the help of these committees that Wakulla County is a better and safer place to live.

To learn more about what the CTST is working on got to www.wcso.org and click on the Community Traffic Safety Team link in the menu “Areas of Interest” on the left hand side of the page.

 

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