LARGO, Fla. — A recent road safety initiative through the City of Largo is slowing down drivers and protecting neighborhoods, as the city has opted to drop the speed limit on city-owned, residential streets on a case-by-case basis.
For the past two years, ABC Action News has shown you how many drivers in Largo have been using residential streets to cut through neighborhoods. Several city speed studies found when they do, they drive too fast.
"The people that are speeding oftentimes don't live in the neighborhood," said City of Largo Mayor Woody Brown in 2019. "They're leaving the main road to cut through the neighborhood to get to wherever they're going."
However, in 2019, city leaders voted down a proposal to lower the speed limit on all city-owned residential streets to 25 miles an hour. But instead, they vowed to make other safety changes.
Today, Largo neighborhoods are taking action.
El De Oro subdivision, off of Belcher Road, became the first to get limits lowered to 25 mph. A neighborhood off Ridge Road followed soon after.
"The community was interested in reducing the speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25," said Megan Dion, a program engineer with the City of Largo's Engineering Services Department.
Dion said per the city's newly adopted speed limit reduction policy, city leaders are now dropping city speed limits after a community-driven process that gets the whole neighborhood involved.
First, a neighborhood or citizen can file an application with the city, according to Dion. Engineers then work with them to see what the new speed limit should be and generate an official petition.
If 60% of the neighbors agree and sign the petition asking to drop the speed limit, city leaders will then approve it.
In addition to the communities off of Belcher Road and Ridge Road, Dion said there are four other areas in the petition phase.
"There are well over 600 or 700 streets in the city that this can be applied upon," she said.
Once an application to lower a speed limit is submitted, the city will typically generate a petition in about a month. Neighbors have around a year to get 60% of the people on board.
Residents can submit an application to have speed limits on a city-owned, residential street reduced by first contacting the Engineering Services Department for the City of Largo at 727-587-6713 or emailing them at Engineeringservices@largo.com.