CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — Residents in a Punta Gorda neighborhood said they’re ready to see a permanent solution to the speeding problem on their street.
“People just drive way too fast on Encarnacion,” said Pat Jurek who’s lived on Encarnacion street in unincorporated Charlotte County for about a year. He joined his neighbor’s five-year effort to get speed humps installed shortly after he moved in.
“I’m so afraid that somebody’s going to get hurt,” he said. He added there were a few close calls for him and his girlfriend.
“I’ve been almost hit twice. My girlfriend got knocked off her bike. Luckily she didn’t get hurt.”
And he said he’s concerned about his neighbors.
“Especially on this curve down here where the deaf girl lives. They’re doing 30, 40 miles an hour on that curve,” said Jurek.
But the speed limit is 20 mph.
The county approved the installation of speed humps back in February, but said construction hasn’t started because this will be the first county road to get speed humps. Yes, speed humps, not bumps. Humps allow drivers to go 10 - 15 miles per hour rather than drop to single digit speeds.
Resident Dick Beamenderfer even got surveillance video to watch cars speeding by and noticed another issue.
“There was as much as 950 vehicles to go by in one day. And there’s only 34 houses on this street,” he said.
“They use it for a shortcut,” said Jurek, to avoid major roads in the area like Seasons Dr.
Jurek and Beamenderfer said the humps will reduce speeding and traffic coming through their neighborhood.
“We don’t have sidewalks…and there’s a good example, she’s walking her dog,” said Jurek as another neighbor walked her dog along the edge of the street.
“The night time is the worst,” said Diana Beamenderfer. “We have a dog that needs to be walked. And to walk her at night you almost need to have flashing lights.” She added the dog gets scared to go out after dark.
Charlotte County marked Encarnacion Street a couple weeks ago, measuring every 200 feet. Charlotte County Commissioner spokesperson Brian Gleason said by the beginning of next year there could be four speed humps on the street. But residents said they want more.
“We had really hoped for something a little sooner. But maybe that’ll give them some time to give us a few more,” said Beamenderfer.
She said six humps would be better.
“I don’t think what they’re talking about now is going to slow it down enough,” she said.
Gleason said the commissioner will get final prices from construction vendors on Monday and that’s when they can determine when construction will begin.