Orange County commissioners approve speed humps in Merritt Park neighborhood

Residents match $12,000 to add speed humps

By Nadeen Yanes - Reporter, Mackenzie Drigo, News 6 intern

After months of working with their district commissioner and making their concerns known Merritt Park neighborhood residents, who say their street has become a popular cut-through to Corrine Drive, will get some help in the form of speed humps.

On Tuesday morning, Orange County Board of County Commissioners approved the installation of the speed humps within 45 days. The decision was months in the making.

As drivers travel down Lakeside Drive in the Merritt Park neighborhood of Orange County, they will see several signs posted by residents asking them to "Drive like your kid lives here" and "Please slow down."
 
"The speed is the issue," said resident Lisa Lawrence. "We just see a lot of aggressive drivers going pretty quickly."
 
Lawrence, who has an 8-year-old child herself, said the number of children in the neighborhood has increased since a new K-8 school was built nearby.
 
Residents say Lakeside Drive serves as a cut-through to Corrine Drive and U.S. 17-92. In June, at a packed neighborhood watch meeting at the Episcopal Emanuel Church, their concerns reached the ears of their county commissioner, Emily Bonilla, of District 5.
 
"During the meeting, it was quite obvious that the community was willing to come together to have speed humps installed in their neighborhood; however, funding was a major setback to the community getting what they needed," Bonilla wrote in an email to News 6 on Tuesday.


 
Not only was funding an issue but according to the Orange County Public Works Department, the county sent surveys to the residents saying two-thirds of residents needed to approve the speed humps.

According to the county, 90% of the residents voted "yes."
 
"We showed up," Lawrence said.
 
The residents didn't just show up with the votes, they showed up with the funding needed. The residents agreed to split half of the costs of the speed humps with Bonilla's office.
 
"We raised almost $12,000 and (Commissioner Bonilla) matched almost $12,000," Lawrence said. "We definitely put our own skin in the game."
 
"This is a clear example of residents using their collective voices to effect change in their community," Bonilla said. "I was happy to approve the installation of the speed humps today to ensure the safety of Merritt Park residents for years to come."
 
"We've all bonded together for a common purpose and we are achieving a result, so that's very exciting," Lawrence said.

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