Home / Government / Residents call for slower speeds, more deterrents in downtown Safety Harbor

Residents call for slower speeds, more deterrents in downtown Safety Harbor

Some Safety Harbor recently expressed concerns over speeding and other traffic related issues in the downtown district.
A couple of residents recently expressed concerns to the Safety Harbor City Commission about speeding, and other traffic related issues, in the city’s downtown district.

Chances are, if you’ve ever driven down Main Street in Safety Harbor, you noticed a number of motorists disobeying the 25 mile-per-hour speed limit, or ignoring the many stops signs that are strategically located throughout the downtown district.

Last week, a couple of residents who claimed to have witnessed these types of infractions many times over the years brought their concerns to the attention of the Safety Harbor City Commission.

At the January 19 commission meeting, Sara La Delpha and Susan Zinkel blamed an increase in traffic in the district for the prevalence of downtown speeders and stop sign runners, and they offered suggestions as to what they feel the city should do about the matter.

A screen shot of Sarah La Delpha at the January 19 City Commission meeting.
A screen shot of Sarah La Delpha at the January 19 Safety Harbor City Commission meeting.

“As a pedestrian who lives in the downtown corridor, from Tenth to Bayshore and Seventh to Fourth, the speed limit is 25 miles per hour. It’s too fast,” La Delpha, who lives on Fourth Avenue North, said.

“I’m asking for the city commission to consider lowering that to ten miles per hour, specifically along Main Street and the surrounding residential neighborhoods.”

La Delpha added she has almost been hit by passing vehicles “12 times in the past year alone,” and that she has almost had her car door taken off by passing motorists. She believes lowering the speed limit would reduce the amount of near misses.

Zinkel said she agreed with La Delpha’s point about speeding, and she also decried the lack of stop signs in the district.

A screen shot of Susan
A screen shot of Susan Zinkel at the January 19 Safety Harbor City Commission meeting.

“Everyone turns left on Seventh Avenue, races up, and I mean races, up to Main Street to beat all the traffic that’s on Bayshore…because Bayshore has become a main thoroughfare in Safety Harbor to beat McMullen Booth,” Zinkel said.

“They’re cutting through the neighborhoods to get through…and I would appreciate it if the city looked at putting a stop sign at every one of those streets.”

While city officials were sympathetic to the women’s concerns and admitted the problems they spoke about did exist, they noted steps had already been taken, and procedures were already in place, to deal with the issues.

“We did a comprehensive study where engineers looked at it, and they gave us the recommendations of where to put stop signs and where not to put stop signs,” Mayor Steingold said, adding, “we can’t put a stop sign…on every corner.”

“If you want traffic calming measures, the best measure we have in hand is basically the speed hump.”

City Manager Matt Spoor.
City Manager Matt Spoor.

City Manager Matt Spoor explained the City of Safety Harbor website has a section to help residents learn about the city’s traffic calming measures and to apply for speed humps on side streets.

He also cautioned against people looking at each block or intersection in town individually.

“You have to look at the big picture, you have to look at the entire grid of downtown, and this has been done,” Spoor said. “We had a traffic study done in the last 7-8 years, and you have to look at the entire grid.”

Despite the fact that a traffic study had recently been conducted, the commission directed Spoor to collect new data from the county, as well as look into possibly commissioning a new traffic study, and report his findings at a future meeting.

Afterwards, Spoor spoke about the City’s willingness to address the issues, if in fact they discover there are problems that need to be addressed.

“The Commission agreed to look at traffic counts on Main Street only and wait for the results before taking action,” Spoor told Safety Harbor Connect. “If the commissioners agree traffic calming measures need to take place, then they will discuss what those measures should be.”

“There’s a whole slew of things we can do to calm traffic,” he added, including increasing the presence of police deputies, adding digital speed limit signs, and/or changing the speed limit. “But we need to determine if there’s a problem first.”

Harborites, what are your thoughts on this issue? Are more speed humps and stop signs needed in the downtown district, or do drivers just need to slow down? Let us know in the comments below.

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Note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct terminology for digital speed limit signs.


  1. While it was initially asked in the above on “where is the enforcement”, it just doesn’t exist. It appears to be a bigger problem which hasn’t been addressed by the mayor and commissioners. While I agree with those of you who have stressed enforcement, it just isn’t feasible under the current situation. It can’t happen with the current set-up between the Pinellas County Sheriff’s office and the city. The Pinellas County Sheriff staff who support the City are A+ and do an exceptional job in terms of ensuring safety within our community. We couldn’t ask for anything more from this group of dedicated staff. The mayor and commissioners need to take a deeper look into the safety of our community. Speeding and individuals ignoring traffic signals need to come to a halt.

  2. I walk along Main Street, on the sidewalk, to Bay shore several times a week during the 6-7:30 am hours. This is in order to use the path along the bay. While crossing to Bay shore at the pedestrian crosswalk I was almost hit 2 times in the last 2 weeks.
    People are in such a hurry going to work on Bay shore they don’t pay attention to pedestrians. It’s obvious that they are using Bay shore to “beat” McMullen Booth traffic. Pedestrians have the “right of way”. Autos need to be more respectful of foot traffic.
    25 MPH seems to be ok on Main Street.
    More enforcement seems in order

  3. Agree, agree, agree.

    What protection are speed laws to our neighborhoods if laws aren’t enforced? I live near Philippe Parkway, which has the worst speeding problem in the city. Of this street’s 10,000 daily trips—higher than any other street in the city except McMullen Booth—at least 8 out of 10 drivers are going well above the posted 25 mph speed limit…more like 45 mph. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle at 25 mph has a 1 in 10 chance of being killed. At 30 mph, it drops to 1 in 5. I’ve had some really close calls with faster moving cars on Safety Harbor streets so these statistics are meaningful to me

    I’ve visited and written city staff and the commission, called the Sheriff’s Department, and talked to patrol officers asking for something to be done so we can feel safe walking in our neighborhood. The last officer that listened to my concerns—as cars flew by us at Mullet Creek Park—told me he didn’t even have a radar gun because he wasn’t certified to use one. Our city streets are a pressure valve for McMullen Booth and cut-thru drivers are thinking about making time, not our quality of life. Dropping the speed limit will not affect drivers until they start getting speeding tickets. Enforcement has to be a part of any desired change in driver behavior.

  4. I’ve been a long time resident and think the City has done a great job in the past addressing the traffic issues. Many speed bumps/humps have gone in as well as additional stops signs. I think the real culprit here is the ultimate lack of traffic violation enforcement.

    Other than near the schools in the mornings, you would be hard pressed to find anyone getting pulled over for speeding in our town. I think we need more enforcement, and as other’s have already said, 25mph for our small town is plenty slow – it’s the speeders who are the problem. I’ve seen my share of people passing others down Main Street, along Bayshore, and God forbid the cyclists. Bring out the police and lets get to the real root of this problem.

  5. I feel that 25 mph is the right speed limit for downtown. For Godsakes, the school crossing speed on Bayshore is 15 mph and traffic rightfully slows down to an absolute crawl. I think more attention should be made about pedestrians crossing the street in the middle of a block on Main Street rather than using our well designated crosswalks.

  6. I think 25 mph is fine, and stop signs are ample as is. Enforce the existing laws – speeding, illegal passing, & ignoring stop signs and pedestrians’ right of way. I am often tailgated when I go 25 mph. Considering the amount of violations there seems to be, I don’t see many people pulled over in town?

  7. We live on 2nd Ave No at a 4 way stop. It took us about 3-4 yrs to finally get a all way stop, after witnessing several accidents and many near accidents. We still watch people drive through the stop signs Every day. From 2nd Street no. to MLK, to some this is a race track with speed up to 35-40 mph. I’d like to see two humps one between 2nd St and 3rd St no. and 3rd St No and MLK.

  8. Speed bumps will not only slow traffic, they make people avoid using streets with speed bumps. I am one to avoid them. But when I moved to this still quaint little town, I promised myself I would never get a speeding ticket in town, especially not in a 25-mile p. hr. zone. It’s not that difficult to slow down, being a responsible resident in Safety Harbor.

  9. Speeding is a problem in many parts of the City, not just Main Street. My understanding is that the City is no longer funding a deputy to enforce the speed limits by issuing tickets, remember the “gray ghost”….? I can tell you that installing speed humps only moves the speeder from one street to another…I live on “another” where the speeders drive to avoid the humps. We need a comprehensive plan and then ACTION

    In the May 2015 Goal Setting the Commission set as a priority to have a Pedestrian and Bike Safety Plan prepared by staff. That Plan, could recommend reduced speeds, enforcement of the established speeds, and various other techniques to make our streets safer for walkers and bikers. I think that is what needs to happen but immediate enforcement with consequences would go a long way towards discouraging speeders so walkers and bikers can “take back our streets”.

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