Villagers concerned about safety on Meggison Road in the Sawgrass Grove area are struggling to navigate a myriad of confusing issues.
The area sees a combination of speeding drivers, golf carts, pedestrians, bicyclists and heavy truck traffic. The government entities with a hand in the cauldron of chaos include Sumter County, the City of Wildwood, The Villages District government (including the amenities division) and the Developer.
Frustrated residents spoke out Tuesday night before the Sumter County Commission at Everglades Recreation Center.
“I am a little confused. We presented our concerns to the Community Development District 13 board and we were told it was not in their purview. They said, ‘We can’t help you. You gotta go somewhere else.’ You’re saying it’s not under your purview. Where do we go?” asked Fred Upton of the Village of Cason Hammock.
Jeff Jones, also of the Village of Cason Hammock, said the issue should not be dismissed as a lifestyle inconvenience for residents.
“It is not our desire to race our neighbors to happy hour at Sawgrass Grove,” Jones said.
He predicted traffic will certainly increase in the near future.
“This is only going to get busier when the Bexley Bridge opens,” Jones said.
Sumter County, which owns Meggison Road, will be adding a sign reminding motorists of the 20 mile per hour speed limit on Meggison Road. The Wildwood Police Department has reportedly stepped up its presence in the area.
Commissioner Don Wiley, a Villager who frequently travels on Meggison Road, said the best opportunity for improvement in safety is at the gates and on the multi-modal path, which are controlled by The Villages District government.
He said personal responsibility of motorists, including Villagers, is falling far short in the area.
Wiley said he was driving in the area and stopped at a stop sign, much to the astonishment of a 75-year-old woman driving a Mercedes. She gave him a single-finger salute through her sunroof.
Commission Chairman Craig Estep said he’s experienced similar situations driving in that area.
“I cannot encourage you enough to spread the word to your neighbors to start obeying the law,” said Estep, who spent his career in law enforcement and public safety in Iowa before moving to The Villages.