Commissioners vote to lower speed limit on deadly Polk County road

Three pedestrians killed in less than two years
Posted at 11:16 PM, Dec 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-13 23:16:32-05

Polk County Commissioners unanimously voted to lower the speed limit on Clubhouse Road from 45 mph to 40 mph following a series of pedestrian fatalities, one that claimed the life of a 17-year-old high school student.

“It's a small step in the right direction,” Commissioner George Lindsey III said. Lindsey said drivers need to do their part to drive safe, but hopes lowering the limit to 40 mph will help.

“How much infrastructure, money do you spend to change human behavior and there is a limit to what that is,” Lindsey said. There are other things we want to do, gaps in the sidewalk we want to close, additional lighting we want to consider, intersection improvements we want to consider.”

People who live near Clubhouse Road and Beverly Rise Blvd said the changes are a good thing but they are skeptical.

“It's pretty fast and at night it's not very well lit,” Ben Hunt said. “It's not going to make a difference nobody cares about the speed limit anyways they all go 50 anyway.”

Hunt said he would like to see more law enforcement out catching speeders. Other residents think lowering the limit to 40 mph will make a difference.

“I think it will be good,” Dee Smith said. “I think we could use a light here. It's routine to us, we hear screeching tires and think ‘oh dear lord’ and then hear that crash.”

Smith said that she calls 911 about twice a year to report a crash near her subdivision.  

“Mom and I just look at each other now like it's a routine,” Smith said. “One of us says, ‘I'll call 911’ the other says ‘I'll go out and check to make sure everybody's OK.’”

In the past two years three pedestrians have been killed along the busy stretch. One of those included a 17-year-old high school student Kalen Kirk. Kirk was killed while walking across the street to get to the bus stop. Another pedestrian was killed in a hit and run.

Lindsey said they are discussing options with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and School Board regarding enforcement and where the best places to put bus stops are for students along with other improvements to the area.

“Gaps in the sidewalk we want to close, additional lighting we want to consider, intersection improvements we want to consider,” Lindsey said.