Council members recommended that traffic calming devices be installed along North Avenue, between 41 (Broad Street) and 98 (Ponce De Leon Blvd). However, two common devices, speed humps and speed tables, are not allowed for use on this roadway due to a combination of the City of Brooksville’s City Policy and Florida State laws that govern the installation of these devices, professionally called Alternative Street Design Components (ASDCs). City staff is expected to collect additional information on the matter to present at a future meeting.
Community Development Director David Hainley presented traffic calming options and the results of a recent study conducted by the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) for North Avenue, a residential roadway frequently traveled on foot by students of Hernando High School.
An official study of North Avenue found a right-of-way ranging from 32 feet to 60 feet wide. “32 feet is substandard right of way,” Hainley said, showing that there are areas of the street that directly meet turf and treelines. There is no sidewalk installed.
The results of HCSO’s traffic study (conducted between May 30 and June 4, 2023) found that 7,584 vehicles used the roadway, which has a 25 MPH posted speed limit. Data showed the average speed reported was 32 MPH, and the fastest speed recorded was 64 MPH. HCSO reported 2,523 enforceable violations during this study, which is roughly 33 percent of the total.
Speed bumps, as seen in commercial parking lots, are not allowed on public roadways, according to Hainley. Speed humps and tables are the top two remedies for North Ave.
Speed humps are intended to reduce speeds on low-speed roads with low traffic volumes. These devices are optimally placed no more than 500 feet apart to achieve a maximum speed of 35 MPH. They are also required to have accompanying signage and sufficient lighting.
Speed tables are longer than speed humps; they are 22 feet long and up to 3.5 inches in height. They lift the entire wheelbase of a passing vehicle and are best used on roads with 25-45 MPH speed limits.
North Avenue is frequently used by emergency vehicles to avoid downtown while responding to emergencies. According to Hainley, Florida law prohibits speed humps on roads used by emergency vehicles. The City of Brooksville Official Policy 2-2007 also lists this limitation but does not specify any limits on speed tables.
The Brooksville Fire Department does not recommend speed humps be installed on the street. Fire Chief Brad Sufficool reported that each speed hump traversal will increase response time by up to 10 seconds. Sufficool cites the National Library of Medicine as his source.
Changing routes for emergency vehicles could potentially add 2 to 2.5 minutes to response times.
Sufficool also said that the Florida Fire Prevention Code (Chapter 220.127.116.11.7) states that the installation of traffic calming devices needs to be approved by the authority having jurisdiction over the fire department. According to this code, the authority is Sufficool.
“I’m not an advocate for them. I’ve seen what they do for our response times. During a cardiac call, seconds really do count.” Sufficool recommends increasing the law enforcement presence on North Avenue.
Other options the council will consider are lowering the speed limit and extending the school zone for Hernando High School down North Avenue. Hainley will investigate whether the school zone extension is possible.