At the southern end of 49th Street South in Gulfport, the road terminates in an all-way stop at a T-intersection with 31st Avenue South to the west and Trade Winds Drive South to the east. Immediately ahead, is the parking lot of Golden Sands, a small condominium complex, and then there is a seawall beyond which is Boca Ciega Bay. In this 50-foot area, where some drivers have recently run the stop sign reaching speeds of about 70 miles per hour, the result has been a vehicle launch off the seawall and into water, said Gulfport Public Works Director Tom Nicholls. For a long-term solution, “we are currently looking at all options,” he said. “We have met with the homeowners association group at the condominium complex and they had a lot of good ideas.” The city has agreed to several immediate traffic calming techniques such the installation of palm trees at the end of the terminus near the head wall “so drivers don’t have a straight look down the road like it continues,” he said. “The trees will be Foxtail Palms, which are the same ones that are located at the Municipal Marina. They will snap off” if a vehicle hits them, said City Manager Jim O’Reilly. The city is also working with their engineering consulting firm in addition to conducting a study along the corridor to document crash, speed and volume data, said Nicholls. In the next 30 days, “we’re going to come up with something that will work. Our goal is to slow the vehicles down well before get near the dead end at a speed that won’t do any damage and drivers will be able to stop in plenty of time – like within half a second,” said Nicholls.
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