On Monday, January 9th I addressed Project Wide Advisory Committee (PWAC) regarding the visibility of gate arms. Gate arm concerns is a recurring issue that shows up often in our Town Hall questions. The discussion at PWAC centered around whether or not additional or different colored patterns would enhance gate arm visibility. The Board directed Mr. Blocker, District Manager, to look into gate arm use and knockdowns and determine what course of action should be taken.

At the Monday, February 13th meeting of PWAC, Bruce Brown, Assistant District Manager, reviewed the results of an extensive study of gate arms. His review covered a vast array of statistics, including:

  • There are 98 million gate arm activations in our community yearly. That’s correct, 98 million times a year the gate arms in The Villages are activated.
  • Sixteen hundred (1600) times yearly gate arms are struck and knocked down, which is .002%.
  • Another interesting fact is that the vast majority of gate arm knockdowns happen between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. You read that right:  75% of the knockdowns happened during daylight hours.

Gate arms was also discussed with the Developer’s design team. South of SR44 the knockdown percentage is significantly less. The gate alert signage south of SR44 is different than signage north of SR44. The District Government is going to begin the process of changing the gate alert signage north of SR44.

Once again, The District Government has understood the request, completed the necessary study, and presented the results. Changes are going to be made.

Will this be a total fix of gate knockdowns? I doubt it. The underlying problem is that we travel at excessive speeds too frequently. We are usually in a hurry. Someone suggested the speed limit signs on highways are only suggestions. Captain Siemer, Sumter County Sheriff’s Dept, might disagree. These signs are not suggestions, they are the law.

Let’s all take a deep breath and slow down. Morse Blvd is not the Long Island Expressway. Buena Vista Blvd. is not I-70 passing through Kansas. These are major thoroughfares in our community. Your safety, and the safety of others, regardless if you are in a car, golf cart, riding a bicycle, or walking, is a primary focus of all community agencies, including The Villages Homeowners Advocates.

I went to bat for you and now I expect a favor in return.  SLOW DOWN!  Leave five minutes earlier for your appointment and adhere to the posted speed limit. If we can all do this, and be respectful of our surroundings, we will all be less anxious, and more gate arms will be spared.

P.S. The VHA offers Golf Cart Safety monthly free of charge. We also have Round About Safety posted on our website . I urge you to take advantage of these opportunities.

Peter Russell
President, The VHA