Speed limit ordinance proposed

Saturday, December 9, 2006

The Roachdale town marshal wants to end motorist's confusion with new school zone speed limit signs in front of Roachdale Elementary.

During Tuesday's meeting,Town Marshal David Barber presented the Roachdale Town Council with a draft copy of the ordinance he worked on with Town Attorney Tom Casey.

According to Barber, the ordinance gives the town and the marshal the right to alter or create speed limits around the town. "That works to allow us to take care of the north end of town," Barber said.

He also said that the ordinance could take care of the speed limits throughout the town, not just in one particular spot.

During last months meeting, Barber, along with Jim Smith from the county highway department, informed the counicl about the need to update the speed limit signs around town. They also informed the council that it was not legal to have the speed limit on the county road coming into town by 45-mph, and then immediately drop it to 20-mph once motorists enter the town. The board had approved changing the speed limit north of town from 45 to 30, and then upon entering town, dropping it down to 20-mph.

Barber informed the council that there was also a section in the ordinance about changing the times on the school zone speed limit signs. According to the current signs, motorists only have to slow their speeds "when children are present." But this has created some confusion for motorists as to when they should slow their speeds.

Barber provided the council with times to place on the signs informing motorists when they should slow their speeds. These times are 7-9 a.m. and 2-4 p.m.

But Deputy Rick Keifer presented a valid point. Currently, motorists drop their speeds to 20-mph once they enter the school zone, but then they go back up to 30-mph in between the school and Ind. 236 and then back down to 20-mph once they cross Ind. 236.

"So in essence what you are saying, once they hit the (school) zone be 20-mph all the way through," President Bill Long asked.

Both Barber and Keifer agreed with this. Keifer also brought up setting one time, 7 a.m.-4 p.m., to enforce the zone instead of setting two times, 7-9 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. "Once you're in a school zone, a school zone is a school zone," Keifer said. "You cannot shut it on and off."

Keifer beilieved having the times on the school zone signs created an easier enforcement.

Barber agreed with Keifer on setting one time for the signs. He informed the council that he did not put into consideration that students were sometimes dismissed early for half days.

The council approved to set traveling 20-mph in the school zone from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. and making the limit 20-mph from the school to Ind. 236.

Town Clerk/Treasurer Jennifer Archer pointed out that the ordinance Barber and Casey created would have to be rewritten.

In other business, the council:

* Approved the purchase of a Kenwood radio for Reserve Deputy Heath Wolf. Barber presented the board with a description of the radio, which is similar to the ones used by the other officers, and a quote for $597.75.

* Received three quotes from Utility Supt. Teddy Knowling for the purchase of a dump truck. The board tabled the quotes until the next meeting due to the need for more time to look over the prices.

The next regularly scheduled meeting has been set for Tuesday, Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. in the town hall.

The meeting is open to the public.

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