- July 21, 2022
Council members in the town of Windermere approved unanimously to move forward implementing the Oakdale and Ninth diverter as a permanent solution, as well as amending the town’s golf cart ordinance to align with current state law, at their meeting Tuesday, Dec. 13.
The council originally passed the temporary traffic-calming program to alleviate traffic concerns along Oakdale Street in July.
Residents along the road have experienced issues with cut-through traffic, speeding, stop-sign running and aggressive-driving behaviors for years.
The temporary measure included the use of a diverter with no road closures and authorized flexibility to Town Manager Robert Smith to implement the program, providing for a re-evaluation period after three and six months, and requiring an ordinance for permanent traffic-calming measures.
The 30-day review, discussed in October, showed that traffic was reduced in the area by 55.91%.
According to data collected by the town, traffic traveling down Oakdale has continued to trend downward over the 90-day review period. The number of vehicles per day during the peak hours in the first 30-day review was 34.56 vehicles per day. From Sept. 18 to Nov. 16, the town collected 40 days of data and averaged 28.3 vehicles per day during the same peak hours.
Windermere resident David Sharpe said the traffic diverter has worked better than he had anticipated, and he hopes it is used as a model for other parts of town.
“I’ve been consistent with my reaction to the barrier, and it’s still working,” he said. “In fact, I think it’s worked better than any of us have hoped. I hope tonight the town moves forward with a permanent plan, because the one thing I think we’ve seen is the road is so much safer now. It’s so much quieter, and I think we’ve kept the traffic on the paved road where it belongs instead of zooming through our neighborhoods and putting at risk our kids, our pets, all of us. … What’s out there right now isn’t the prettiest thing in the world, but it’s effective.”
Windermere resident Brandi Haines said there is no doubt about the decrease in traffic as shown by the evaluations, although there is still room for improvement with people ignoring the signs and running over the barrier.
“I just want to make sure it’s more than just signs, because signs aren’t stopping the people,” she said.
Windermere Mayor Jim O’Brien thanked the two public speakers for coming forward and sharing their thoughts and for the “steady shepherding of the agenda item and coming forth with positive solutions.”
Although Sharpe said he would like to see if the timeline for permanently implementing the diverter can be sped up, O’Brien said there are some limitations with an ordinance as far as notices and meetings.
Staff now will begin to work with consultants on plans for the permanent diverter.
At least two public information workshops will be held as well as a Town Council workshop. Once a final design is agreed upon, an ordinance will be drafted and require two readings. This would need to happen after the design is approved since the ordinance would close the roadway.
GOLF CART REVISIONS
After a review of the town’s golf cart ordinance, Town Attorney Heather Ramos said it was essential to update the ordinance to bring it into alignment with the state statutes.
The proposed ordinance amends and updates Article 3 in Chapter 20 of the town’s Code of Ordinances.
“It shall be unlawful to operate a golf cart on any street or sidewalk within the corporate limits of the town unless expressly authorized by this article or Florida law,” the first addition to the article reads.
Other notable additions focus on restrictions for golf cart operation upon the sidewalks within the town which are subject to the following restrictions and requirements: The maximum speed for golf carts on sidewalks is 15 mph, golf carts operated upon sidewalks must meet the equipment requirements, golf carts may only be operated on sidewalks which are at least 8 feet wide, and a golf cart may not be operated on town streets or sidewalks by any person under age 14.
Golf carts also will have to comply with all applicable state traffic laws and provisions of the article and may be ticketed for traffic violations in the same manner as motor vehicles.
In addition to the required specified equipment, golf carts must have headlights, brake lights, turn signals and a windshield operated 24 hours per day. Golf carts equipped with only the equipment specified may be operated only during the hours between sunrise and sunset. Unlicensed drivers may not operate a golf cart between sunset and sunrise.
The second reading of the ordinance was approved unanimously.