As a city, we are blessed to have engaged neighborhood associations and citizens who are passionate about ensuring Life Is Just Better Here in the Island City.
Prior to joining the commission, I had never really thought deeply about how much my quality of life is dependent on our roadways and transportation. I have heard from many residents recently about road safety and accessibility.
When the 3 Bridges Association released its 2022 Important Issues survey results (https://bit.ly/3w4nAR5), I couldn’t help but notice three of the top 5 issues related to our streets. Crosswalks/walkability ranked 2nd, calming traffic and reducing speeding ranked 3rd, and increasing landscaping/streetscapes ranked 5th.
As someone who cycles, scooters and jogs along our roadways daily, I recognize the need for us to continue to work towards transportation options that work safely for everybody. Our roads need to be efficient for motor vehicles and be safely accessible for those who choose not to drive. Following the Broward Complete Streets model, we need to focus on moving more people with different modes of transportation, reducing congestion, and benefiting all users of all ages and abilities, including walkers, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders.
There are a variety of ways we are working to make progress on this front including performing traffic calming studies, allocating police personnel and equipment to traffic control, redesigning our streets as funding becomes available, and creating a transportation/mobility master plan. Today, specifically, I want to share with residents some of our recent efforts to address traffic violations on our roadways.
Over the last month you’ve probably spotted WMPD’s Traffic Officer Rowles performing speed checks throughout our community. Officer Rowles has been assigned full-time to traffic control within our city to keep our streets safe. Following the tragic accident on Powerline Road, residents have called for increased speed control efforts throughout the west side. I’m pleased to report the officer’s effort has been equitable spread throughout the city with just a little more than 1/3rd of their efforts being on the west side based on the April efforts log I reviewed — an increase from the prior year's reporting.
In addition to allocating a full-time officer to traffic enforcement activities, we’re also using speed indication equipment to encourage traffic calming and provide valuable data on speeding throughout the city. You’ve probably seen the mobile unit; it shows your speed as you pass by and collects data about the frequency and speed of vehicles over the speed limit. We’re using this data, along with accident data, to ensure we allocate enforcement measures where they are most needed — on the streets where speeding occurs most frequently.
Beyond these traditional traffic control measures, we’re also taking an innovative approach to engineering safer streets. At a recent commission meeting, we approved a beautiful manatee mural design for the bridge on Powerline Road. Painted bridges and beautified streetscapes have been shown to reduce the speed of traffic as motorists approach them. They make our neighborhoods more attractive and safer for everyone!
- Chris Caputo, Wilton Manors City Commissioner