PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The city of Port St. Lucie has now completed a big projectto reduce speed limits in residential areas across the city.
The speed limit dropped from 30 to 25 mph on Wednesday. It’s only a difference of 5 mph but police said that’s enough speed to make a big difference.
“Speeding is our number one complaint in the city,” said Master Officer Walter Wyckoff. “Last year we wrote over 50,000 citations throughout the city.”
Port St. Lucie police started warning drivers that speed limits in all residential areas have dropped from 30 to 25 miles per hour on Wednesday.
“[The speed limit] has recently been reduced to 25 mph in a residential area and you were doing 34,” Wycokk said.
Mike Walcott was one of the drivers pulled over.
“We live maybe two, three miles from here and I use this road all the time to get back on par," said Walcott, "but I did not know about the speed.”
But even he’s glad to know his own neighborhood street speed limit will be lower.
“I respect that,” Walcott said. “I’ll be even more cautious; I’ll spread the word around.”
Wyckoff plans to mostly give warnings for now.
“I think over the next 30 to 60 days we’ll focus on education,” he said.
However, Port St. Lucie police warns that if you’re going well over the speed limit in a residential neighborhood you will likely get a ticket.
“If you’re doing 20-30 miles over the speed limit, you stand a very good chance of being cited,” said Wyckoff.
For police, this was a long time coming about a year in the works.
“About 1100 signs had to be changed throughout the city, so to get to this point is very exciting,” Wyckoff said.
And studies show even this slight change could be lifesaving.
The Institute of Transport Engineers shows someone hit by a car going 32 miles per hour has a 25% risk of death.
At 23 mph, just 9 mph slower, that death risk drops to 10%.
“Port St. Lucie is a neighborhood community, so we have kids playing in the streets, pedestrians walking, bicycling, so it’s even more imperative that you slow down in our residential areas,” Wyckoff said.
This is Port St. Lucie’s way of also keeping up with national trends of dropping speed limits. Not just to decrease speed complaints but make every neighborhood a little safer.