Editor, The Beacon:
It is apparent that our officials who oversee those who do highway design have chosen high speed over the life of our citizens.
At a recent town hearing about changes of road design in DeLeon Springs, the state road-design specialists who were presenting made many suggestions that would help facilitate traffic on U.S. Highway 17 through our community.
I assume the suggestions they are proposing are being made to facilitate and make it safer for motorists and pedestrians to navigate in and through our community.
One of their main suggestions is to do away with the turn lanes through the entire town, except for at Webb Street, which will allow the firetrucks and ambulances to cross lanes and go either north or south.
What great ideas: Have one place in town where people on the east side of town can go south and where people on the west side can go north, making Webb Street a super-favorite.
Having lived in DeLeon Springs for 64 years, being a business owner, and having been the principal of the elementary school, I admit I was happy to see the four-lane highway constructed. We were a sleepy but happy community at that time, and I wrongly thought constructing this highway would bring prosperity to the community.
Over the years, not only have I watched the commercial part of our community go downhill, but I have lost three good friends to traffic accidents connected with Highway 17.
It is obvious that these suggested “improvements” will not only hurt our downtown merchants, but will allow traffic to speed up. The speed limit is now 45 miles per hour through downtown!
What other community has this problem? We have no stoplights or any other way to slow traffic down. How is one to cross the street either in a car or walking?
Last year, roadway deaths increased 18 percent in the United States. What is the cause? According to Leah Shahum, founder of the nonprofit Vision Zero Network, state safety performance targets motorists’ freedom over people’s lives. It seems like this is the case in this proposal for DeLeon Springs.
What is the real solution to our problem? Slow down the traffic. Do this by changing the speed limit to 45 mph, with a caution light at Highway 17 and Fairport Avenue, then put a roundabout at Highway 17 and Davis Street, and reduce speed to 35 mph.
Implement some solution at the school, and put a roundabout at Spring Garden Avenue, where speeds could increase to 45 mph to Lake Winona Road, where a caution light should be installed.
Traffic cameras might also be a good idea in the 35-mph zone.