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Some Duval School Board Members Want Slower Speed In Front Of More Schools

Eric Fischer

Speed limits could be reduced in front of more elementary and middle schools if some Duval County School Board members get their way. Because of a city traffic policy, not all schools have slow roads leading to them.

In front of Twin Lakes elementary and middle schools on the Southside’s Point Meadows Road, the speed limit is 35 mph.

“The big problem is the speeders — people who want to bypass; they don’t want to wait in lines,” said Abby Murphy, a Twin Lakes volunteer. "They just zoom in and out of those lines that are backed up on that road.”

Murphy also sits on the citizens planning advisory council for a nearby neighborhood. At a school board meeting Monday with city traffic officials, she said drivers are zipping down Point Meadows to bypass congested Interstate 295. She and others in the area want the speed reduced during drop-off and pick-up times.

“Our kids are trying to get across the street because there is a bike path there,” Murphy said.

Because there’s no sidewalk across the street and no crosswalk, the city traffic engineer said kids shouldn’t be crossing the street there. And though city policy doesn’t require a reduced speed limit, Twin Lakes board member Lori Hershey said a slower speed would also be good for parents trying to drop kids off in a busy area.

“Reducing speed limits would slow down traffic and may cause more congestion but again the value is on life and safety versus slowing down and maybe being five or 10 minutes later to where you’re going,” she said.

Other schools have had similar issues. A child in the Mayport area was killed earlier this year after being struck by a car while walking to school, board member Warren Jones said.

And Board member Becki Couch said students from Argyle’s Enterprise Learning Academy cross the busy Old Middleburg Road to meet their parents parked at Target.

Several board members said they plan to ask City Council to reduce speed limits wherever traffic is making it hard for kids to get to school safely.

Photo: "School Zone Speed Limit Signs" used under Creative Commons.

 Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at@lindskilbride

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.