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Love or hate? New speed bumps on A1A are Jupiter’s silent policemen


BA-BOOM!

That was the sound musician Bill Kimball heard — and felt — about midnight May 4 when he drove his pickup truck over one of the new speed bumps on A1A in Jupiter.

“My head almost hit the ceiling. My amp in the back seat slammed forward against my seat. I couldn’t see the bump, it was dark,” said Kimball, whose band, William Kimball and the Hit$how, perform often at Guanabanas on A1A.

The five speed bumps — the only ones on A1A in Palm Beach County — are part of the town’s $8 million spiffing up of A1A from Jupiter Beach Road north to U.S. 1. New sidewalks, bicycle lanes, landscaping, drainage, underground power lines, crosswalks, on-street parking and streetlights are planned to be completed next month.

The goal is “to create a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly area,” town manager Andy Lukasik said via e-mail.

County traffic engineering operations manager Moe Al-Turk has another word for the speed bumps (or tables as they are referred to) — overkill.

The county turned over jurisdiction of the section of A1A to Jupiter about two years ago, giving the town authority to install the speed bumps and make other changes.

“The new landscaping, medians, on-street parking, sidewalks and bicycle lanes are enough to show motorists that they should slow down,” he said. “The speed tables are not needed. They do not fit in aesthetically with the new environment of the roadway.”

Others agree, pointing out these factors:

  • They startle homeowners when trucks clatter over them.
  • They are tough to see at night.
  • They are a menace to motorcyclists.
  • Some motorists drive around them.
  • Drivers not expecting the bumps will slam on their brakes.
  • Warning signs create visual clutter, they said.

 

“Speed bumps will confuse drivers. There’s so much already going on on that part of A1A already,” said Dick Turrie, a resident of Jupiter River Park on that part of A1A.

The speed limit has been dropped from 25 mph to 20 mph on the road, which is mostly one lane with a bike lane in each direction in that area.

Others, however, favor the speed bumps.

“Motorists were driving past here at 50 miles per hour before the speed tables were installed. Drivers are driving slower now. It’s safer for pedestrians,” said Chad Van Boven, owner of Guanabanas restaurant on A1A.

If the outdoor market places are built at Love Street and the Suni Sands mobile home park, more pedestrians will be walking along the roadway, said Dominic Addario, who lives on property he owns on the west side of A1A.

“There’s a reason why this is the only part of A1A in the county that has speed bumps. This is the only section where A1A is trying to be a pedestrian thoroughfare,” Addario said.

Speed bumps are not the only change in the winding three-quarter mile stretch of A1A that includes the Suni Sands mobile home park, a miniature golf course, restaurants, condominiums, private homes, offices, kayak rentals, a public dock, a former boat repair shop and a small hotel. It’s a popular trip for bicyclists.

Flashing signs — one northbound and one southbound — will be installed to tell motorists the speed they are moving and if they are driving above the 20 mph limit, Lukasik said.

“The town is not setting up a ‘speed trap’…The design is intended to create a safe environment for all modes of transportation since A1A is already a recreational corridor,” Lukasik said.

The A1A speed bumps in Jupiter are not like the more jarring ones found in shopping center parking lots. These are 22 feet wide and about four inches above the road way. Except for the one closest to Jupiter Beach Road that has a black pavement surface, the others are topped with red brick.

They are OK with cyclist Greg Danti, who stopped as he pedaled south near Guanabanas on a recent afternoon.

“The bumps don’t bother me. The slope is gentle. And the red brick allows me to see them coming,” said Danti, a visitor from Tewksbury, Mass.



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