Windsor Park Resident Helps Local Wildlife
Recently, Abacoa learned that one of its residents, Ira Fischer of Windsor Park, was spearheading an effort to put up signs on Central Blvd. which would alert commuters to 'Watch for Wildlife." The mission was a success. Below is his story.
On my way to and fro from my home in Windsor Park all too often I would see the remains of animals (mostly squirrels, possums, and other pint-sized critters) on the stretch of Central Boulevard between Indian Creek Parkway and Donald Ross Road. As you may be aware, that stretch that cuts-through wildlife habitat and these animals are victims of roadkill.
The posted speed limit (45 mph) was clearly too high for the stretch that is no more than 2 miles and intersected by several slow-down zones, which can result in dangerously quick accelerations. To make matters worse, there were no wildlife crossing signs to alert drivers of the danger posed to these creatures. Consequently, the animals that call this area “home” were left in a crossfire that put them a great risk of serious harm when they are forced to cross the road for food, shelter and to be with their families.
Disturbed by what I witnessed I contacted the Palm Beach County Traffic Division and advised them of the situation. I suggested that the speed limit be lowered and that wildlife crossing signs be placed alongside the road to make drivers aware that they should moderate their driving habits accordingly. After these requests were met with skepticism (e.g., they claimed that data showed that the effectiveness of wildlife crossing was inconclusive), I submitted an argument setting forth the details why it was necessary to adopt these measures in order to mitigate the threat to wildlife.
Upon reviewing my report, they essentially conceded the point that wildlife crossing signs are, indeed, effective. However, they requested documentation that animals suffered fatalities on the subject road, before they would consider installing signs.
A few days later, as I was driving on the stretch, I noticed something unusual in the middle of the road. I slowly approached and saw that it was an animal. I stopped my car and walked to the site and saw a possum had succumb to his injuries. I sent photos of the gruesome sight to the Traffic Division. Shortly thereafter, they responded with the advice that WATCH FOR WILDLIFE signs would be installed along the road. This was a win for all pint-sized critters that must cross roads for their survival.
WATCH FOR WILDLIFE sign being installed (Photo/Vanessa Meijia)
Some of you may have noticed WATCH FOR WILDLIFE signs about a ¼ mile south of Donald Ross. Subsequent to the sign installations noted above, I found a turtle crushed next to Central where a pond is near the road. About a week later, at the same location where the crushed turtle was found, I saw a turtle heading towards Central. Fortunately, it was intercepted before it reached the road and was returned to the pond. Photos of these incidents were submitted to the Traffic Division and, without any hesitation, they agreed to install signs. It’s nice to know that our PBC Traffic Division has a place in their heart for wildlife.