Posted on Sun, Feb. 04, 2007
Village makes effort to slow speeders
Biscayne Park has launched a campaign to deter drivers from speeding, and the Village Commission will consider lowering speed limits at its next meeting.
BY ALAIN CASTILLO
Biscayne Park police are taking steps to curb drivers who speed through the village, including having more officers on duty and setting up a trailer that displays speeds.
And more steps may be on the way, including lowered speed limits.
The heightened enforcement follows a recent incident when two young boys were struck by a hit-and-run driver.
''We are asking the public, those who live here, visit here, or drive through to be respectful of the speeds and be aware of a tragedy and to prevent one,'' said police Capt. Tony Sanchez.
On Thursday, the village launched a monthlong campaign aimed at speeders, called ''Don't Even Think About Speeding.'' According to a village press release, the effort will ``focus on unlawful speed enforcement, safety belt enforcement [and] speed awareness.''
As part of the campaign, the village is using a newly acquired ''SMART trailer'' that displays drivers' speeds as they approach. SMART is an acronym for Speed Monitoring Awareness Radar Trailer.
The portable trailer will be set up along the village's busiest thoroughfares, including Northeast Sixth Avenue, according to Sanchez.
The problem, according to residents and officials: drivers zip through the village, which is nestled southeast of North Miami, to avoid heavy traffic on nearby roads like Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 125th Street.
B.J. Smith, who lives on Griffing Boulevard, affirms that traffic is a problem.
''Cars travel so quickly that we can't get out of our driveways,'' she said.
Sanchez said the police department will have extra officers on duty dedicated to traffic enforcement. The department has increased the number of full-time and reserve officers on duty during peak driving periods, and also extended hours for the motorcycle patrol.
Many ideas for dealing with the problem were culled from a traffic study completed last year, according to Village Manager Frank Spence. Other possible steps include making more streets one-way and adding traffic circles to slow cars down.
One step the commission is expected to address immediately is lowering the speed limit from 30 to 25 mph throughout much of the village. That is scheduled for a vote at the Village Commission's next meeting, taking place Feb. 13. Residents may weigh in on the issue that night in a public hearing before the vote.
Even if the commission votes to lower the speed limit, the action would also require the approval of the county.
Spence said residents have also suggested speed humps and barricading streets. Those also require county approval, which may be harder to win because of county concerns like access for emergency vehicles.
On New Year's Day, a car slammed into Adam and Anthony Perez-Pinon, who were riding their battery-operated ATVs while their parents and the family dog walked a few feet away. They were on a narrow portion of Northeast Ninth Avenue that has no sidewalk.
Five-year-old Anthony was thrown to the side of the road, and 3-year-old Adam was dragged underneath the car for several blocks. The driver is still being sought by police. Adam remains in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, said his mother, who is heartened by the village's recent actions.
''It makes me feel better that in the future speeding will be low,'' Katty Perez-Pinon said. ``Something good is coming out of this tragedy.''
The commission's next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Ed Burke Recreation Center, 11400 NE Ninth Ct. For details, call Village Hall at 305-899-8000.