South Jax board talks about Hardin Avenue safety

By Gary Scott on May 7, 2016 at 8:41am

A South Jacksonville trustee thinks the village is “putting off” a traffic issue on a major north-south road.

Trustee Kem Wilson brought up her concerns about traffic safety on Hardin Avenue on Thursday, a week after a resident asked trustees to consider adding weight restrictions, additional stop signs or sidewalks.

The resident said nearly every resident who was surveyed agreed the road has become unsafe, and wanted truck traffic eliminated.

Wilson echoed some of those sentiments, and told trustees she wanted a study done within a few weeks.

“I think it’s dangerous. When we have people, anybody, especially little kids, walking to either Godfrey Park or Nichols Park, the only choice is to walk down the middle of the road. Something needs to be done about it this year, not next year, because it just keeps getting put off every year,” says Wilson.

“Last year, it was talked about, we couldn’t do it because we didn’t have the money in the budget. Now, we’re wanting to do a survey. Well, when are the budgets due? May. So, then, it’s going to be too late.  So, it’ll be another year. Another year again. And it just goes on and on. And I don’t want to see a little kid hit and killed, or an adult hit and killed,” she continues.

However, utility department head John Green said he’s received an email from another resident who said he would “challenge” every traffic study. For this reason, mayor pro-tem Steve Waltrip says a six-month period is needed for a study.

“It gives a more seasonable type of environment of trucks and traffic in different seasons to cover. I don’t think you can have a traffic count in two weeks. But, I think that is what John and Josh Hallock, the police chief, had recommended, which, I would tend to agree,” says Waltrip.

Waltrip says Hardin Avenue has been safe for several decades.

“It’s not saying an issue could not come up- it could come up tonight- but as of yet, nothing’s come up, that [needs an] immediate response in two weeks, versus a six-month study to do it correctly,” he says.