News

Speed Zones and Mitigating Traffic in Community Associations

By:Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel and Chaiet - July 2, 2019

 
We are often asked to provide our opinion and guidance regarding the rights and duties of Associations to install speed/traffic control devices and/or otherwise manage traffic on Association Property.  Many Associations experience problems with drivers exceeding acceptable speed limits along Association roadways.  Some Associations have gone to great lengths to address this problem, by installing speed bumps, imposing “speeding tickets” and/or fines.

As a preliminary matter, the Association may wish to adopt reasonable rules and regulations, and otherwise undertake measures to protect the health, safety and welfare of the Condominium Property and its residents.  The Association’s governing documents generally empower Associations to operate the Condominium Property and promulgate and amend Rules and Regulations respecting the use of Condominium Property.  However, most often, the governing documents do not specifically address the Association’s rights and duties related to the management of traffic on Association Property, including speed limitations and the installation, management and maintenance of traffic control devices.

Chapter 316, Florida Statutes known as the State Uniform Traffic Control, governs the installation and maintenance of traffic control devices, including those signs and pavement markings on private property.  Fla. Stat. §316.0747 requires that traffic control devices, including signs and pavement markings on private property, be in conformance with the uniform system of traffic control devices adopted by the Department of Transportation.  Any traffic control devices installed and/or maintained by the Association must comply with the standards set forth by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Devices adopted by the Department of Transportation (the “Manual”).  The Manual contains the standards and specifications regarding design, installation and placement of traffic control devices.  Likewise, the Manual of Uniform Minimum Standards for Design, Construction and Maintenance (the “Florida Greenbook”) provides criteria for public streets, roads, and highways used by the public for vehicular and pedestrian travel, sets
forth requirements associated with speed bumps.   Private roads open to public travel are subject to the same traffic control standards as public streets and highways.  However, State and/or local highway agencies do not necessarily have specific authority or enforcement responsibility for traffic control devices on private roads to ensure compliance with the Manual.  The owners or parties responsible for the private roads (i.e., the Association) are encouraged to bring their traffic control devices into compliance with the Manual, and those who do not may be exposed to increased tort liability.

The installation and maintenance of traffic control devices, stop signs, speed bumps and the like, may require municipal approval.  Municipalities often incorporate the requirements of the Manual into their zoning requirements, building and occupancy permits and similar regulation in order to exercise some control over private properties.  We are aware of instances where Associations have installed speed bumps without obtaining municipal approval, and have had to subsequently remove same.
 
Some municipalities do not permit speed bumps because they interfere with access by emergency vehicles.  Thus, it is important to consult with the city and county prior to the installation of any traffic control device, irrespective of whether same conforms with the Manual.

Pursuant to Fla. Stat. §316.006(2)(b), a municipality may exercise jurisdiction over any private road or roads, if the municipality and the party that owns or controls such road enter into an agreement for municipal traffic control jurisdiction over the road or roads encompassed by such agreement.  In the past, we’ve had several of our clients enter into traffic control agreements with their local municipalities, allowing law/traffic enforcement agencies to monitor and enforce traffic over private property.  An Association may want to consider enlisting the help of its local police agency to enforce ongoing speeding problems, whether on a permanent or periodic basis.

Lastly, separate and apart from the installation of traffic control devices, the Association may opt for implementation of fines with regard to Unit Owners and/or Residents that are observed driving in excess of the posted speed limits.  The Association may adopt reasonable rules and regulations as to (1) the maximum speed limit at the property and (2) the prohibition of cutting through parking lots to avoid speed bumps.    To the extent that a Unit Owner or Resident fails to abide by said rules and regulations, the Association in accordance with its governing documents and Fla. Stat. §718.303, may levy fines against unit owners, occupants, licensees or invitees for failure to abide by any provision of the Declaration or the By-Laws rules of the Association.  In order to implement such fines, the Association would need to strictly comply with the statutory notice and hearing requirements set forth in Fla. Stat. §718.303.

Carolina Sznajderman Sheir is an associate at Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel & Chaiet, P.A. She focuses her practice on real estate law, community association law, commercial litigation and developer representation.  She can be reached at csheir@eisingerlaw.com or 954-894-8000 ext. 238.

Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel & Chaiet, P.A., is a full service Florida law firm focusing on community association law, real estate law, developer representation, commercial litigation and insurance law. For more info visit eisingerlaw.com.