FDOT to drop speed limit on Longboat Key

The state has decided to lower the 45-mph speed limit on a 0.3-mile stretch of Gulf of Mexico Drive.
by: Observer Staff 

Within the next month, the Florida Department of Transportation will be changing out speed limit signage at the north end of Longboat Key, after deciding to lower the limit to 35 mph on Gulf of Mexico Drive from Broadway Street to the Longboat Pass Bridge.

According to a May 2 letter from FDOT District 1 Secretary Billy Hattaway to Mayor Jack Duncan, an engineering evaluation and speed study supported the move. The state analyzed crash statistics and other data as part of that study.

But despite support from some town commissioners, FDOT has declined to lower the limit for the remaining 10 miles of state-owned roadway on the Key.

“If you lower it to the point where they’re frustrated, they will try to pass more often, and I think their driving becomes less careful,” said Police Chief Pete Cumming at yesterday’s Town Commission meeting. “All we really want to do is make sure nobody gets hurt out there.”

Mayor Jack Duncan spoke out in favor of the reduction at the meeting, saying it would cut down on pass-through traffic from motorists who use Longboat Key to avoid traffic traveling north.

“We would like to emphasize the importance of continued enforcement along this segment to ensure motorist compliance with posted speed limit,” Hattaway wrote. “Driver behavior is adjusted with education and enforcement.”

— Staff Writer Jack Short contributed to this report