The drivers, not the government, must take responsibility for keeping the roads through Lake Padgett Estates safe for kids and pedestrians.

Published Jan. 8, 1995|Updated Oct. 3, 2005

Lake Padgett Estates doesn't need speed bumps, but some of its residents definitely need an attitude adjustment.

Two weeks ago, the Central Times reported that some folks in the crowded subdivision think speed bumps are needed to slow down speeding motorists before someone gets hurt or killed.

Officials say speed bumps aren't a good idea because the county might get sued by a speeder who wrecks after striking a bump and losing control.

Well, as someone who lives near Lake Padgett Estates and uses the same roads, I agree there's a problem. However, speed bumps ought to be the last resort.

Speed bumps are like intrusive government regulations that people complain about.

Sure, you might slow some people down, but you might mess up the alignment on cars driven by people who don't speed. And some folks always seem to find a way around them. Do you want people to swerve onto your yard to avoid an asphalt hump?

We're dealing with a problem that goes beyond the gas pedal. It's a state of mind.

You've got Land O'Lakes High School kids who use Lake Padgett Drive and Heatherwood Lane like the Autobahn because it's fun. And you've got adults flying around the curves of Weeks Boulevard like they're trying to make post position in the Indianapolis 500 because they want to get home a little sooner.

Kids will be kids, but regular traffic enforcement by the Sheriff's Office and the Florida Highway Patrol should take the charm out of mistaking a Geo Storm for a Formula I racer.

The adults, who are setting the standards for the children, need more than that.

A lot of folks who live here work in Tampa or grew up in Tampa or St. Petersburg or some other big city. Maybe they're used to interstate driving or commuting on Dale Mabry, where it's easy to get away with speeds in excess of 60 mph.

Early mornings and late afternoons I watch the traffic zoom along Weeks. Those drivers, mentally, in the morning already are at their offices. They seem oblivious to traffic laws and totally unaware that joggers and bicyclists and kids on inline skates could emerge from a side road at any time.

In the afternoon, they're already home, fixing dinner or catching a show on satellite TV when they cross State Road 54 on Collier Parkway. They hustle to outrace fellow motorists before the left northbound lane merges with the right.

Neighbors do this to neighbors. Here, in a small town where many of us came to escape the hassles of city life, we've brought a taste of those hassles with us.

Let's call a truce.

Leave a few minutes earlier for work. Obey the speed limits. Take the curves slower. Watch the road and pay attention to your surroundings. The reason so many accidents happen close to home is that we are lulled by the familiar.

On the way home, take your time. Plan dinner a little later. Set up your VCR to record anything you might be eager to watch.

Be a good neighbor.

If you have a story tip, Wes Platt can be reached at 996-1534, or on CompuServe, user number 75543,1764.