Hillsborough County, Fla., - The Carrollwood Village Homeowner's Association is sharing how they were able to fix a big problem in their community: speeding and reckless driving.
They hope other Homeowner's Associations can learn from their experience.
"We were having traffic crashes beyond anything we could imagine," explained Steve Shirley, one of the directors of the Carrollwood Village Homeowner's Association.
"Not only crashes, but the crosswalks. We literally couldn’t cross, and then we had two fatalities. And that brought everything to the epicenter," says Shirley.
Since Shirley moved to the neighborhood about 40 years ago, the Carrollwood area has grown from a little "village" into a large suburb community, and their little neighborhood street, South Village Drive, has grown into a popular commuter route.
So no surprise, after a recent, comprehensive survey of the residents, it was revealed that traffic was the number one concern for people who lived in the area.
Since then, Shirley and the HOA made two big changes.
The first is they added flashing speed signs and more prominent crosswalks along South Village Drive and West Village Drive.
The other is a private contract with a Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) trooper.
The contract is not facilitated officially by FHP, but allows the trooper, when he or she is not called into work, to monitor that neighborhood and make their presence known in the best way they know how: to stop offenders, write citations, and flash those lights.
Shirley and the Carrollwood Village HOA started the contract about 8 months ago, and the changes have been drastic, says Shirley.
"We are on our way to 4,500 citations. Which, the patrol says, is one of the worst situations they've ever seen in the community," says Shirley.
The speed limit is posted at 25 mph and 30 mph in most spots, but some drivers were reaching speeds of 65 mph, even 75 mph at times.
Now that drivers have learned that there is frequently an FHP trooper in the area, the speeding and reckless driving has come down dramatically.
"We're sending a very clear message there's a new sheriff in town, its over," says Shirley. "And it's really working."
The HOA is paying for the contract through HOA fees, and FHP tells ABC Action News that they have this arrangement with several Tampa Bay Area HOA's. Each contract is a little different, and for slightly different rates, but the exact terms of the contract are not publicly available, because the contracts are between the HOA and a trooper while they are off duty.
Florida Highway Patrol says interested HOA's should contact their local FHP office and ask about the availability of off-duty troopers for speed enforcement.