SIGN OF THE TIMES
Palatka Police Chief Jason Shaw said signage telling semi trucks to return to truck routes could be clearer.
Shaw said Palatka’s old, narrow roads, such as 13th Street, are difficult for large tractor trailers to handle. According to the Palatka Police Department, one accident occurred in the past 14 months where Crill Avenue intersects 13th or 14th streets involved a large truck. City ordinances insist trucks should return to truck routes in the shortest distance possible after making deliveries.
“If you’re coming into the area to deliver, you have to be let in to deliver,” Shaw said. “It’s not considered thru truck traffic, but once you get into it, there’s nothing in there that says you must return to a truck route or the nearest intersection possible. The way our streets are built that’s not applicable.”
David Darmstadter lives near Crill Avenue. He said Crill Avenue was not built for 18-wheelers. Darmstadter said he was concerned with truck drivers using Crill Avenue and residential areas to subvert truck routes.
“The trucks just come flying through because it’s shorter, particularly in the afternoon, in order to go to St. Augustine,” Darmstadter said. “Why aren’t they using the truck routes?”
Shaw said trucks deviating from truck routes aren’t strictly enforced because of unclear signage. Shaw said some signs pointed to a direction rather than explicitly instructing drivers to return to their routes.
“Once you’re inside that route, there’s no signage in there telling you to return,” Shaw said. “There aren’t any truckers riding around with our city ordinance in their truck. The signage right now is kind of confusing.”
Shaw said he believed the city could relieve a lot of truck traffic by fixing signage. He said the city and the Department of Transportation were working to fix the signs.
“We want to take the route of proper signage and just make them aware before you attempt to go through enforcing it through the ordinance,” Shaw said.
Public Works Director Jonathan Griffith said he planned to initiate the discussion with the Department of Transportation this week to improve the signage.
“This signage is a bit confusing, and a few signs are maybe missing, so it seems like an easy fix, but we can’t do anything with signage on the DOT system,” Griffith said. “We hope to have it resolved here shortly.”