‘Someone’s going to be killed’: Residents get results after pushing for speed humps in Polk County

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Speed humps or a child’s life. Those were the options put forth by residents of a Polk County neighborhood.

One concerned resident contacted 8 On Your Side to make sure their voices were heard.

The once-quiet Lake Eloise Drive near Winter Haven has seen development and economic growth. With that comes more drivers.

Many of them speed well above the 30 miles per hour posted speed limit, residents said.

“I call it like the checkered flag point. By the time these cars reach my property and, I’m not exaggerating, they’re probably doing 60 or 65 miles per hour,” said Richard Holland, who lives on Lake Eloise Drive.

“Daytona has its Nascar oval. Winter Haven has its drag strip. Namely, North Lake Eloise Drive,” said resident Richard Valens.

Last spring, resident Debra Watson brought her concerns to the county.

“Twice in the 10 years that I’ve lived there, cars have crashed into my walls. One young man almost lost his life,” she said.

That driver was speeding in excess of 65 miles per hour, she said.

Photo courtesy of Debra Watson

Many residents expressed concern about children walking home from the school bus getting hit by a speeding vehicle.

“Someone’s going to be killed if it wasn’t done,” said Watson.

So Watson started collecting signatures. A petition eventually met the 80% threshold of required signatures from property owners to add “traffic calming devices.”

“With an 85th percentile speed of 39 miles per hour and an average daily traffic of over 1,800 vehicles per day, Lake Eloise Drive met the board’s traffic calming policy criteria for speed and volume,” said Amy Gregory, traffic manager for Roads & Drainage Division, to county commissioners Tuesday.

The county Roads & Drainage Division recommended the installation of four speed humps on Lake Eloise Drive, which would cost $16,000 in total.

The proposal had one opponent at Tuesday’s board of county commissioners’ meeting.

“I just don’t think that’s necessary. Maybe other ways to combat the speeding,” said Jeff Peck, who lives on a nearby street. “My idea is just signage or more police presence.”

The proposal received unanimous approval from the commissioners. There is no word on when the speed humps will be installed.

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