Jarret Romanello, The St. Lucie Post
April 29, 2021
(ST. LUCIE COUNTY) Property owners living along Indian River Drive gathered Tuesday night at the St. Lucie County Administrative Building for a Town Hall Meeting to discuss road safety.
Indian River Drive is a 14-mile road that accommodates more than 5,000 vehicles daily between Jensen Beach and Fort Pierce. The Drive is a well-known alternative to U.S. 1, and residents say aggressive drivers speed, tailgate, and illegally pass, making conditions dangerous on the scenic roadway. The Drive has been the site of numerous traffic fatalities, and residents fear walking across the street because vehicles regularly exceed the 35 MPH speed limit.
Concerned residents attended the meeting on April 27, 2021, while others participated virtually.” Our goal is to find solutions and save lives,” St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners Chair Chris Dzadovsky said as he opened the meeting.
Public Works Director Don West gave an update on the Indian River Drive Safety Project. Already the County has added a double yellow line and a stop sign to the Drive to calm traffic conditions. Still, the safety improvement plan is only 60% complete, and the County is considering additional strategies in a phased approach to promote safer traffic on Indian River Drive.
Brain Good of Kimley-Horn, the project engineer of record, recommends adding dynamic speed feedback signs, profile thermoplastic stripping, traverse pavement markers, and raised rumble strips to the Drive.
Residents who provided feedback to the project team collectively agree the County needs another north-south corridor to alleviate U.S. 1 congestion. Some even suggested making the Drive a toll road. The audience burst into applause as resident Adam Locke voiced his objection to audible pavement markers.
Commissioner Cathy Townsend began researching solutions for the Drive and discovered Sky Cop. Commissioner Townsend was impressed with the Sky Cop’s technology and crime deterrence systems and started engaging with the company and Sheriff Ken Mascara to explore deploying Sky Cop on Indian River Drive. Commissioner Townsend believes the County needs better infrastructure and road extensions to address the problem but understands those projects take time. “The only way to fix this is to have all drivers abide by the law; my recommendation is to increase law enforcement,” Commissioner Townsend said.
Sheriff Ken Mascara addressed the meeting and provided stats related to Indian River Drive enforcement activities. “The stats are getting worse even though we are putting more manpower on the problem,” the Sheriff said. The Sheriff recognizes the increased traffic on the Drive due to the County’s population explosion and believes in a holistic approach to solving the problem. “You can never write enough tickets to get out of a problem,” says Sheriff Mascara.
Scott Holmes owns Sky Cop Florida and presented the technology to the meeting’s attendees to show how it supports law enforcement. “Sky Cop is a force multiplier for the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office. The cutting-edge technology will support deputies with real-time intelligence that will deter and prevent crimes as well as aid in the identification and apprehension of those involved in criminal activity, including reckless driving,” Holmes told the St. Lucie Post.
As the meeting closed, Resident Mark Derousa thanked the project team for the progress made and said, “This is the closest that we have come to solving any of these problems.”