NewsPinellas County


St. Pete Beach residents push for solutions to road safety, flooding concerns

Posted at 3:59 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 18:02:20-04

ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. — For the most part, Carrie Ruckdeschel loves living in St. Pete Beach, on Boca Ciega Drive. She calls it paradise.

“The community is great,” she said. “I love that we have the school here. That was one of the perks for living here.”

However, there are two very serious issues for just about everyone who lives here: flooding and speeding.

“It’s stressful. It’s a raceway, for sure,” said Ruckdeschel.

Both of her sons go to Gulf Beaches Elementary Magnet School. They live right down the road, so they ride their bikes every day.

“My head is on a swivel making sure they’re paying attention to all the traffic,” she said.

The speeding and drivers not paying attention are her main concerns, “especially when the cars are coming off the avenues and rolling through the stop signs.”

In addition to that, the students who walk or bike are let out at Boca Ciega and 85th Ave. For parents, the problem is that there are no sidewalks on 85th, and the road is usually packed with drivers and parents picking their kids up.

“It’s a very dangerous obstacle course,” Ruckdeschel said. “They’re in the grass, going over bumps, and my youngest son has fallen into the streets once or twice.”

According to the people who live here, it’s been a problem for several years.

Ruckdeschel and several other parents and neighbors have gone to city leaders about their concerns, and the city is now looking into the issue.

“I am thankful we have commissioners who have decided to pay attention to this.”

Commissioner Christopher Graus represents this area. ABC Action News spoke to him on the phone Wednesday afternoon. He said the city is working to put a plan together and schedule a public workshop to talk it over with taxpayers.

“We are taking these concerns serious,” he said.

The other major issue, flooding, is also something city leaders are working to deal with.

“My street does flood a lot,” Ruckdeschel said. “But I really feel bad for the people in the Don CeSar neighborhood.

City officials are reassuring residents that both issues are priorities, and they are working to find the best and safest long-term solutions.