Martin’s engineering staff vs. residents and wildlifeDecember 30th, 2011 by Post Staff
It’s only a 5 mph difference. But, as Palm Beach Post Opinion columnist Sally Swartz writes, in the long fight between Martin County officials and neighbors of the Green River Parkway, which runs through the Pinecrest Lakes development in Jensen Beach, the difference is a symbol of the county engineering department’s determination to win a battle with residents.
Lowering the speed limit to 35 could help scrub jays, gopher tortoises and other wildlife survive traffic on a parkway that cuts through conservation lands.
For years, residents have been at odds with the county over Parkway details. The route, the location of a protective wall between the road and neighbors’ backyards, and the speed limit have been issues.
The Martin engineering department repeatedly ignored issues until residents brought them before the county commission in public meetings.
In the last go-round, commissioners told engineers to investigate residents’ concerns and make recommendations. The engineers came back with the same old same old: Keep the 40 mph limit, despite concerns of federal wildlife officials and residents who report seeing gopher tortoises wandering near the road and frequent wildlife roadkill victims.
Imagine the good will the department could create by giving in, Sally says. Not just for endangered scrub jays and gopher tortoises, but also for the lowly armadillos, raccoons, opossums and other wildlife that dies on local roads.
You can read Sally’s full column here.