Survey says: Palm Coast residents want more sidewalks, street lights

By Brittany Jones, Flagler County Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, March 14, 2017, 11:20 PM EDT

Street lights and sidewalks. Those are what Palm Coast residents want, according to the results of a citizens survey that city leaders discussed Tuesday.

  • Palm Coast citizens survey results in
  • Residents want more focus on pedestrian safety
  • Also asked for more job opportunities, kids activities

The results are telling, considering a teenager was killed while walking along a road nearly two weeks ago.

"What they're missing, what they love, and I think we got a lot of feedback on that," said Heidi Shipley, District 2 councilmember.

Tuesday, council members got a chance to hear the results and weigh in on the responses from residents.

The city of Palm Coast put out the citizens survey in the middle of February through early March to residents online. The city received the highest number of survey responses yet, with many of the approximately 4,000 who responded wanting two things -- street lights and sidewalks.  

"The timing of the survey, the survey happened after the tragedy," said Shipley.

Shipley said she has received email after email with concerns about lights or sidewalks from residents in her district where 16-year-old Michelle Taylor was killed by a driver in the dark on Lakeview Boulevard. 

After Taylor's death, Shipley went to her vigil.

"It was very dark out there and just standing out there knowing that that was the street that something like that happened. It had to be in everybody's mind that was there that the lighting would've made a big difference," said Shipley.

The sidewalk and street lights end on Lakeview Boulevard at Lamancha, but the road goes down about another mile without sidewalks or street lights that people are asking for. Councilmember Nick Klufas said the words street lights and sidewalks were mentioned in the survey hundreds of times. Street lights was written in the comments section of the survey nearly 300 times, and sidewalks nearly 200 times.

"It will be done and it will be started. What we're looking at now is exactly what streets we want to do first or if we want to add another section on this year because of the survey received," said Shipley.

The survey also asked residents about the number of street lights in major traffic corridors; most answered "just about right," a small group said "too many," and another chunk said "not enough."

Shipley said some of the improvements are scheduled in their 10 year capital improvement plan. The city's parks, economic development and shopping were highly rated on the survey. While job opportunities and activities for kids were also on the survey for issues residents also want to see tackled, Shipley said they know what to tackle first.

"It was definitely a moment to say what can we do, to make it for a reason so that when we put those lights up we can say, 'this is for Michelle,'" said Shipley.

More than 50 percent said they would continue to live in Palm Coast for at least the next five years.