Hazardous horse crossing will be rerouted

By Peter Jacklin

Have you experienced approaching the Meads and Hillside intersection by car, and encountered one or more equestrians crossing diagonally from the south trail to the north trail?

Or, on the other hoof, have you wanted to get Dobbin from the north trail to the south trail and felt high anxiety because you didn’t know when the next unseen car would hurtle toward you from the Handy Creek direction?

There’s good news in the making. Soon, the need to make the fateful crossing at Meads and Hillside will become part of Orange Park Acres’ ancient history.

The County of Orange Public Works Department and the Orange Park Association Board studied the situation, reviewed several options, and agreed that a reasonable solution is to extend the north trail from Hillside to Orange Park Boulevard. Meads, between Hillside and Orange Park Boulevard, will be moved eight to ten feet to the south. Along with increasing safety, the multi-use trail will extend, uninterrupted, from Frank Street to Orange Park Boulevard.

The next step toward making this happen is a public review of an updated design. The review is expected in June or July. Keep in touch with the Sentry to get the date, time and location.

The current plan indicates that the change will happen in the 2017-18 timeframe.

2016 speed study coming

It’s been 10 years since the last speed study was conducted on Orange Park Boulevard. The result is a 40 mph speed limit on the road, except for the frontage at the Salem Lutheran property. A non-binding study was performed last year, and found that a large percentage of the vehicles on the road travel in excess of the posted limit.

A binding study is planned in the coming six months. There is reason to believe that the current speed limit can be reduced to 35 mph, using the proper tools and a concerted effort by Orange Park Acres residents to regularly drive slower.

Speeds limits are set at the 85th percentile of the recorded speeds on the road during the study period. At least 100 vehicles have to be recorded. Some rounding on the results is allowed – sometimes rounding up. As an example, if 15 percent of the vehicles recorded are measured at 47 mph or faster, the procedure will set the speed limit at 50 mph. The non-binding study indicates that should current driving behavior continue, a 50 mph speed limit is not an unreasonable finding.