Speed tables slow speeders but cause another problem, police say

After a Tesla lost control in a fiery crash, Groveland is trying to stop speeders

Tesla crash in Groveland (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

GROVELAND, Fla. – After an awful high-speed crash that ended with a car in a backyard, the City of Groveland insisted it is getting results for Cypress Oaks.

The Groveland Police Department said installing speed tables is slowing speeders but neighbors aren’t convinced. And it’s led to another problem.

Six months after the driver of a Tesla was speeding down Maravilla Way, according to Groveland Police, doing almost 100 mph, lost control and barreled into backyards, the privacy fence is fixed but the concrete retaining wall holding up a pool is still cracked and the aluminum frame of a screen enclosure is still bent.

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It was the second speed-related crash on the 25-mile-per-hour stretch of Maravilla Way, a once-quiet neighborhood access road turned community-cut-through leading to South Lake High School.

Sgt. Russell Pena represents the Groveland Police Department on the City’s task force formed after the crashes to curb the crashes.

“Maravilla runs about a mile long,” Pena said. “It’s a major thoroughfare for citizens of the high school and people going to work.”

Pena heard from neighbors who feared the next wreck would kill someone.

In response to the concerns, Groveland installed additional stop signs on Maravilla Way and three speed tables several feet wide, although at least one stop sign was removed last week.

Sgt. Pena said drivers cannot avoid the speed tables.

“They have slowed those individuals down,” Pena said. “Trying to go over those at 40 miles an hour it’s going to cause damage to the vehicles.”

But neighbors told News 6 they’re still seeing what police are not. They said before and after school especially, drivers just speed up in between the tables and some even use the bumps as ramps.

Pena admitted some neighbors are not satisfied with the speed tables but said since the installation, he hasn’t issued a single speeding citation on Maravilla.

Pena said before the speed tables, officers handed out 300+ tickets for speeding and stop sign-running.

However, the speed tables have inadvertently caused drivers to seek alternate routes.

“Traffic is like water,” Pena said. “It will flow through the past of least resistance. And the least resistance now is down similar side streets that we knew was going to happen.”

Groveland is now wrestling with that ripple effect by putting more patrols on the side streets, along with adding radar sign boards and even speed tables.

Phase One of the traffic safety project called for the three speed tables on Maravilla. Pena said Phases Two and Three will install as many as nine additional speed tables and raised crosswalks in the other two neighborhoods served by Maravilla Way.

The Task Force that advised the speed tables, made up of Pena and representatives from the Fire Department, Public Works and neighborhood HOAs, will continue to meet monthly to ensure the additional speed tables are effective and, if not, what else would be.

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About the Author:

Erik von Ancken anchors and reports for News 6 and is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist in the prestigious and coveted "On-Camera Talent" categories for both anchoring and reporting.