Back Beach Near Pier Park Drops to 45MPH

by October 20, 2011 • 33 comments

The recent drop in speed limit on Back Beach Road near Pier Park stirred up a lot of discussion on our Facebook wall, and we’d like to hear more thoughts on the speed change from 55mph to 45mph.


From Hills Road to Colina Circle, the speed limit has been changed from 55mph to 45mph.  These changes were due to the amount of traffic, accidents, and the struggle for cars to pull out of Pier Park safely.  The decrease was also inspired by the recent number of tragedies in the area in past months.  One thing to consider is that the area will soon be seeing a Wal-Mart.

Community Feelings

While it’s too early to tell how people feel about the change, it seems that opinions are split.  Those who live in the neighborhoods around Pier Park seem to lean in favor of the lowered speed limit, while those who pass through see it as ineffective.  A common standpoint seems to be that the change isn’t going to be fun, but if it keeps people safer – then it’s a necessary one.

That being said, how do you feel about the speed limit being lowered to 45mph around Pier Park?

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1 LoganExplosion October 20, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Yeah, right.. But we’ll still go ~ 60


2 Nancy October 21, 2011 at 9:20 am

Compared to Mary Ester, Navarre and some other spots not as populated as we are now, their speed is 35 and 45 respectively. I can’t see why, with the amount of traffic we have, how we are not down to at the very least, 45 mph the whole length of 98 from bridge to bridge. 55mph promotes 65mph in which may cars do even more than that. Its a dangerous situation in many spots as the accidents tell the tale. Is there some reason everyone is in that much of a hurry?


3 Sharon Ernst October 21, 2011 at 9:26 am

I agree with Nancy’s comments. The speed limit on 98 being 55 mph is like trying to pull out on an expressway with no ramps. Hopefully, with this change, we will not have so many “memorials” at so many intersections in future years. Slowing down to 45 will help keep people around 55 rather than 65-70….especially if there is a huge control effort by the local Beach Patrol Officer to help get it enforced. It was an extremely smart move on the part of your local officials.


4 Brenda Stanley October 21, 2011 at 9:26 am

All of Back Beach Rd should be lowered to 45 mph. We drive Back Beach Rd everyday and it is so dangerous. People think that 55 mph allows them to drive 65+mph and you never see a police officer giving tickets for going over the speed limit. Try going 55 mph and see how many people try to run over you. Back Beach Rd is too busy now to allow a speed that high with all the red lights and business’. Please lower the speed and lets save lives.


5 Jim Mitchell October 21, 2011 at 9:46 am

I don’t have any warm feelings for Walmart and the chaos it creates. As a non-resident, the change will affect me little. A much more grand approach is needed though. The numerous uncontrolled intersecting roads create many problems. BB Road should be a ‘limited access’ road, with new parallel roads on each side to guide travelers to controlled intersection. The least thing that would help would be to place ‘no left turns’ where people come out of places like Hill Drive and others.


6 GENE October 21, 2011 at 10:01 am



7 Angie October 24, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Mr. Gene….You are sooooo RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is the worst! Something funny though…he pulled my friend over for “No Seatbelt” which he was guilty of, but my friend was so mad because he got back on his bike (no seat belt required, lol) and pulled out in front of someone!!


8 Maureen October 21, 2011 at 10:37 am

I don’t have a problem with the speed limits being lowered anywhere, but especially on an already overcrowded expressway. If you’re afraid you’re going to be late, leave earlier. If you oversleep, be late and beg for forgiveness. The sale at the store will last another 15 minutes, at least. So many people speeding to the next traffic light, darting in and out of traffic lanes, pulling out in front of oncoming traffic, and that is especially maddening when I have my grandson with me. I don’t care if you want to put your life in danger, just don’t put others in danger at the same time. It just shouldn’t be a strain to go from point A to point B. If I leave my house in a good mood, I really prefer to arrive at my destination in the same mood.


9 Lee Howe October 21, 2011 at 11:32 am

I hate the new speed limit on back beach. It won’t be long before the stop lights and speed limits make travel here just as awful as it is up near Destin and Ft Walton, where they have no room for a highway like ours. We won’t have a highway anymore, either; we’ll have a long, long city street.
Is it about safety? Really? I guess people in other places in the USA ( and even other places in Florida) are better drivers. They don’t get their views blocked on bridges by high walls, and they don’t change their highway speed limits to accomodate a Wal-Mart. They build an access lane. Here in Bay County we get treated like unruly children.


10 PCB Citizen October 21, 2011 at 11:47 am

Just make the daydreaming, inattentive sloths move to the right lane (as required by law) so the rest of us can go down the left passing lane of the two-lane, divided highway. Speed limits are easier to enforce but will not solve the problem; ticketing slow drivers in the left (passing) lane would reduce the accidents, as these drivers clog lanes and disrupt traffic. The 55mph limit doesn’t kill; zombie drivers do.


11 Pam October 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm

We all need to slow down through that area. It is so dangerous because of the high speeds of those passing through and locals in a hurry. I know of several families that are still in mourning due to the death of a young lady that was killed at the intersection of Hill Road and BB. If lowering the speed and/or a stoplight can save a life, then it is a must. She might still be here today if there had been a stoplight or lower speed limit. I hate to see another stoplight, but there is too much speeding traffic. Isn’t there one in the plans when Walmart opens? A Police car in the area during high traffic times would slow the traffic also. Set a police care in the median and see what happens.


12 Jerry Tucker October 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm

I whole heartely agree with the lowering of the speed limit. If you are in that big of a hurry, you should have left earlier. Show alittle respect for your fellow human being, and be conciderate.


13 DJ October 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Three issues:
One: How many of the “recent number of tragedies” in that area was alcohol involved? Between alcohol events at FB Park and bars at Pier Park, I suspect it was a lot.

Two: On the premise statement that ” lower speed will make it safer”, then 5 MPH would be safer also. I worked 30 years for the Federal Gov. and that was the unarguable rational given too many restrictive costly and over the top decisions.
Three: If the city planners do not project and design adequate merging lanes and make businesses add (pay) for frontage roads, within 10 years all of 98 in PCB will become congested , dangerous, and 45 mph or less.


14 Ron Crumpler October 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Am I the only one that remembers you use to could go from Thomas Drive to highway 79 without a light at all. Why, because it was an “expressway”. It was supposed to be the quick way to get from the east end to the west end. If you wanted to go slow along the scenic route, you took Front Beach. A long time ago, frontage roads and a few overpasses would have solved these issues, but the leaders, er, people in charge saw fit to use traffic lights and turn lanes and it went from Emerald Beach Expressway to Emerald Beach Parking Lot. Add to that the sensors that allows one car on a side street to stop 30 or 40 cars at speed on Back Beach and the problem worsens. The lights could be synchronized, east bound in the mornings and west in the evenings. But sensors have pretty much killed that tactic. Then add to that the cell phone users, texters and my favorite the speed monitor parked in the left lane refusing to obey the law, you know the one about slower traffic keeping to the right. Hopefully they’ll build the “Back Back Beach Expressway” to be followed by the “Back Back Back Beach Expressway each time allowing commercial development without frontage roads and rendering the original intent of the roadway useless. Of course an elevated Emerald Beach Expressway could be built above the existing one. This would have no lights and a minimum number of on and off ramps. To fix all this takes time, materials, engineering and most importantly money and there’s not much of that stuff around these days.


15 LoganExplosion October 24, 2011 at 8:35 am

This guy gets it^^. They could at LEAST synchronize the lights or maybe even add some merging lanes in the worst spots..


16 Rob October 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm

I think its an effect of all the new things being built and going up here on PCB. While I am not thrilled about the lowering of the speed limit, it will make driving through the area a little safer, I hope. I say I hope because there will be lots of folks that pull out onto 98 and driving at such a slow rate of acceleration that people doing the speed limit will be forced to brake, hard. It happens now and I think will get worse when the speed limit lowers.

I am for lowering the speed limit, would just like to raise the awareness of those driving onto 98 that they should be aware of distances between them and the vehicles driving at speed on 98. I have had to slam on my brakes several times because someone pulled out in front of me doing about 20 mph or so. Please, wait until there is enough gap in the traffic flow!


17 Rob October 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm

I know that last post sounded contradictory, but I would like folks to honor the new speed limit and be patient.


18 Rick October 21, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Many good ideas/suggestions (Back Back Beach Road, parallel roads to controlled intersections, adding more lanes, etc.), but the the best ideas cost the most money. At the very least I’d like them to add exit and enter lanes to 98. More importand, I think allowing left turns, or u-turns anywhere on 98 but at a controlled intersection is an extremely dangerous situation.
With future stop signals so close together, 45 mph is probably a good idea, but with that it means more congestion, more travel time, more road rage, etc.


19 DJ October 22, 2011 at 1:24 am

I was told many years ago when St Joe was building many of the subdivisions along back beach the county planners wanted St Joe to build frontage roads instead of having all the residential road connected to Back Beach. It all came down to St Joe demanding the county buy the St. Joe property and also pay for the frontage road. As you can see that didn’t happen. It’s all about the $$.
Wait until the West bound side gets built out like the East bound side We will wish: If only we could do 45 like we did in 2011


20 Joe October 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm

The a$$ clown speeders like Logandmoron are the reason we have to change limits… You baffoonery while driving makes most of us wanna yank your GED A$$ out of the car and pound sand in your ear to fill the void … Florida Tag and Mississippi mud hound Brain trust SLOW DOWN Meth head


21 LoganExplosion October 24, 2011 at 8:54 am

What are you talking about? Have you been on back beach?? Most everyone goes 55+, regardless of the limit. Wake up, learn to drive. Slower traffic stay to the right. Headlights on when raining. Look twice for motorcycles. Etc.

I’ll be on back beach, every day. come at me bro. My tag is similar to my username. I’d love to see you “yank” me outta my car!

I’m from here and love it when outta-towners don’t know how to pull into a highway. So let’s punish the thousands of people that use that road daily. Back beach is the “express” route around these parts. Read Ron Crumpler’s comment.

I love how some of you people’s solution is to ‘leave earlier’. Probably spends the rest of their day telling homeless people to get jobs..

What’s a Mississippi mud hound Brain trust? Some kind of club??
Haha! Meth head?? I’m a confuse


22 Cathy October 24, 2011 at 10:30 am

Hello Logan,
I am an “out-of-towner” and proud of it & proud to be a lover of PCB also.
Just wanted to tell you this:
You are correct on lots that you write.
Wake up, learn to drive. Slower traffic stay to the right. Headlights on when raining. Look twice for motorcycles. Back beach is the “express” route.
Looks like more police on Back Beach Rd. is the answer not as you say: Punishing the thousands who drive there each day!
If they patrol it correctly & issue steep tickets then the problem will be solved.
One other thing dear….. They (police) will yank you outta your car too, if you speed!


23 LoganExplosion October 24, 2011 at 11:20 am

Hey there Cathy,

Don’t really understand how paroling it correctly and issuing tickets is going to help the problem of them lowering the speed limit.. but whatever. haha! and if you’re referring to the “problem” of everyone going over the speed limit – Drive much?? that’s everywhere

Also, nobody is pulling me outta my car. Never have I heard of anyone getting “yanked outta their car” for keeping pace with traffic on the HWY.. that’s lol
Read the comment that i was replying to.. Just another internet hater. They’re pretty common these days.


24 Cathy October 24, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Hey Logan,
I will be happy to answer you to what I believe is the problem & really it’s mentioned at the top of this editorial.
Problem: People driving too fast & not obeying the speed limit, the amount of accidents and congestion of people entering the highway out of Pier Park. (These changes were due to the amount of traffic, accidents, and the struggle for cars to pull out of Pier Park safely.)
They way I think is people can have an accident at any rate of speed “if” someone else is going too fast etc. Lowering the amount of speed is not going to affect the amount of traffic as it will probably be more traffic due to it moving so slowly. As to cars pulling out of Pier Park…… when you get into Pier Park, naturally YOU have to pull out of it. People should use common sense, wait, look both ways & pull out when clear.
Yes, dear i do drive “lots”… You don’t need to tell me what’s out there on our highways or yours, I witness it each day I drive to work & when I’m driving on vacation in PCB.
I have seen it hard to pull out on the road at Pier Park. But, people should go to the areas that have traffic lights and exit there. Much easier!
Patrolling it correctly will slow down people who constantly break speed laws & hopefully help people who just can’t drive good. (You know the ones who drive like they own the roads)
If people would use their head, be more courteous and “nice” while driving on the highways things would be better but, we all have to suffer sometimes for other people’s ignorance.
You have a good day hun…….

25 Angie October 24, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Logan Explosion……just wondering what you drive. Sounds cool..I’ll be looking for your tag! lol ; )


26 Cathy October 24, 2011 at 10:20 am

This is strictly in my opinion but I do not see why the speed limit needs to lowered on Back Beach Road. The speed limit of 55 as it now stands is quite slow enough to drive safely “if” you did not have (some) owners of the road speeding. In my most recent trips to PCB in June & in September I can’t remember seeing police patrolling BB Road. Now before someone jumps at me saying this…. I know they probably do but, I am saying I have not seen them. It seems that all of the police are patrolling Front Beach Road, Hwy. 98.
I guess I think of this change as this: Front Beach Road speed limit is set at a much slower pace for tourist, shoppers & just casual driving up & down the beach. As I recall many years ago Back Beach Road was built as an alternate for those who live in PCB so they could drive at a slightly accelerated rate of speed so they could avoid the much slower traffic on Front Beach (Hwy. 98). Is this not correct? And, if you now have Front Beach and Back Beach going at a pace of 45 mph. how will this now help your traffic problems?
Leave the speed on Back Beach Road at 55 mph. (Reinforce Police & hand out stiff tickets to speeders).
Thank you,


27 PCB Citizen October 24, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Those who say “leave earlier” display simplistic thinking by not recognizing the diversity of transportation to include Greyhound buses, fire trucks, repair people, shipping companies, organ transplant couriers, ambulances, and so on who often cannot control the course of daily events or their departure times. When you change the speed limit, it affects the timing and schedules of many individuals and companies. And lowering the speed limit unnecessarily inhibits commerce and can create inconvenient and even life-threatening delays. I’m not a fan of half-baked policies. Identify the real problem; then find the right solution. If drivers exhibited situational awareness and slower traffic moved out of the passing lane, that would reduce accidents and facilitate traffic flow.


28 LoganExplosion October 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Exactly! telling someone to simply ‘leave earlier’ is like telling fat people to “just loose weight” or poor people to “make more money”. I’m in to similes if you haven’t picked up on that yet..

If people would pay attention to what’s going on, be courteous to other drivers and go the speed limit – We probably wouldn’t have this problem. There’s always somebody speed matching the person next to them, well below the limit. Or some fool that’s lost. All the while there’s thirty people behind them getting frustrated..

Is there not a stoplight at pier park?? correct me if I’m wrong
But, we’ll see soon enough how much safer this change is..

Logan/PCB (you know, the town in question)


29 Cathy October 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm

As far as speed and Pier Park is concerned…… you should be driving at a slow rate of speed anywhere lots of people are walking about & shopping, children playing etc,
This is only common sense.
Let’s all use our heads now, just because the sign might say 55…. if you see lots of people on the side of the road & children YOU would naturally slow down not floorboard your car.
Lord Lord!


30 Jeremy October 24, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Something was needed here, the stretch is dangerously congested. No one is paying any attention to the speed limit though, and the FHP are apparently all too busy picking up easy speedy tickets over at the West Bay bridge, from unsuspecting tourists coming in from the airport, to bother enforcing it. I saw a 3 car pileup westbound at Pier Park lights yesterday afternoon, right in the supposed middle of the new zone, so nothing has changed yet. Think it’s a problem now, just wait until that unwanted Walmart adds 4 plaza entries Eastbound!


31 tom bubb October 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Back Beach Road is a tourist corridor. A lot of our visitors do not know where they are going; only a few have a clear idea how to get there.
Tourists are sight seekers (rubber neckers). They want to know all they can about our area while they are here. What little they did learned from previous visits changed. They don’t know if they are on Back Beach Road, aka – Panama City Beach Parkway, aka hwy 98, aka Middle Beach, aka Hutching, aka R. Jackson, aka Breakridge, aka Arnold, aka hwy 79. Tom Tom’s have been known to have nervous break downs while in use here.
We should go out of our way to make the entire beach as safe and as informative to the lost as possible.


32 Ron Crumpler October 27, 2011 at 2:47 pm

There you go, I’m wrong again. I thought all these years, Front Beach Road was the tourist, sight seeing, rubber necking, route and Back Beach Road, aka. Panama City Beach Parkway, aka. expressway, aka. highway 98, was the travel route. A means to avoid the bumper to bumper, stop and go traffic of all the other arteries. I can see the billboards now, “When in Panama City Beach, don’t miss Back Beach Road, a must see in PCB. We offer multiple carpet and flooring outlets. There’s a working concrete plant bordered by a swimming pool builder. Check out the excitement of the golf driving range. Don’t miss the drama of building materials being loaded into trucks and cars at the big box building stores. Spend countless hours on your cell phone in the waiting room at your favorite walk in clinic. Be amazed as your oil is changed in 30 minutes or less. Tour the subdivisions, both built and not so much. Enjoy the facial expressions as home owners make their payments at the multiple banks. This and much more awaits you on Back Beach Road, THE tourist corridor in Panama City Beach.”

Seriously, the original intent was for locals working, especially those working across the bridge, to be able to go to and from work without battling the stop and go traffic. It was also supposed to aid those, and there were many, with regular business between Panama City downtown and the Destin/Ft. Walton area. I guess the biggest fault was not being future sighted. Who knew the sleepy little town would one day wake up.


33 David R. December 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm

This makes me laugh. The only time I’ve seen people observe the posted speed limits is when there’s an obvious a police presence. Reminds me a lot of the 45 zone at the Philips Inlet Bridge: Travel less than 65, and you’ll get at bad looks, tailgating, and then be clipped off by the people behind you. Can’t say as I blame them since the road can easily be driven at higher speeds safely.