Loquat

Traffic backups at the convergence of County Road 905 and U.S. 1 prompt some motorists to speed down Loquat Drive. County officials are considering closing access to Loquat on 905.

A steady stream of speeding cars has Garden Cove residents fearful of an accident and a proposal to close off access to Loquat Drive from County Road 905 will go before the Monroe County Commission soon for approval.

Loquat Drive resident Spencer Slate described an inordinate amount of cars zooming down his street and then looping through the Garden Cove neighborhood to avoid traffic snarled at the intersection where C-905 traffic merges onto U.S. 1.

“I despise the traffic. On weekends, it’s as if my house is out on U.S. 1. I once counted 286 cars in one hour,” Slate said. “Thankfully, my kids are grown, but my neighbors can’t let their kids out to play. It’s like a speedway. I’ve seen the city bus come flying down my street. Cars are doing 60 mph. This is a quality-of-life issue. Someone is going to get hurt.”

Slate, as the sole Loquat Drive resident, would be impacted the most. Closing the road would mean he’d have to wend through the Garden Cove neighborhood, a circuitous route, to get home.

Monroe County Commissioner Mike Forster hosted virtual meetings with Garden Cove residents, who overwhelmingly support the closure, he said.

“We have had extensive meetings with all the people living in that neighborhood. Out of the 32 people on the call, not one was against the idea. They feel they can’t even let their kids or animals out on the weekends because of the traffic speeding through,” Forster said.

Forster paid for aerial footage of heavy southbound traffic.

“The video illustrates the traffic problems they have in that neighborhood because of impatient people who don’t want to wait in the long southbound turn lane from C-905 on to U.S. 1. Closing the road to southbound traffic would alleviate drivers looking to avoid the wait and realistically, it’s probably not any faster,” Forster said.

“The fire department and the sheriff’s office have no issues with closing the road. Northbound-lane cars are pulling off the side of the road because they are in near head-on accidents. There is one street where people go 50 miles an hour and when they come off that street, people are still speeding through the neighborhood. It’s out of control, just like Sunset Park, but more of a life and safety issue.

The commercial businesses in the area also support the closure, according to Forster.

Slate, a local dive boat captain who has lived on Loquat Drive for 29 years, said the traffic has intensified over the years.

“About 15 years ago, the county installed 25 mph speed limit signs, which have helped,” he said. “Capt. Don Fanelli and the sheriff’s deputies have been out here patrolling, but they can’t sit here every weekend. I’m acting on the behalf of the people who live here. I’m willing to make the sacrifice.”

Forster said he hopes the road closure item will be approved as a bulk item during a future meeting.