Pinehurst Considers Slowing Down Drivers
The Pinehurst Village Council is flirting with the idea of implementing a universal speed limit of 25 mph in residential areas.
The speed limit would not apply to state roads, such as N.C. 5/Beulah Hill Road or N.C. 211. The speed limits on state roads cannot be unilaterally changed by a village ordinance.
The idea was pitched by Village Manager Andy Wilkison at a work session Tuesday afternoon. Wilkison said he was struggling with the fact that there are so many varying speed limits around the village and felt it may be time to "bite the bullet" and enact such an ordinance, even though previous attempts to lower the speed limit in certain areas had been unpopular.
Wilkison attributes the differences in speed limits to different annexations of land over the years. He also said that certain neighborhoods, such as Doral Woods and the short side of Monticello, have requested that their speed limits be lowered.
While no action was taken, Mayor George Lane and council members expressed support for the measure.
"I think it's a good idea," Lane said.
Police Chief Davis agreed, saying that a speed limit of 25 mph would do more to protect the drivers of golf carts in the community. Davis said he would "certainly" increase speed enforcement to make sure drivers were aware of the change if the measure was passed.
Wilkison said it was not something that required immediate action from the council. The staff would have to draft an ordinance.
On a related matter, village resident Richard White presented a proposal to ban talking on cell phones or text messaging while operating a motor vehicle in Pinehurst.
There has been a movement across the country to ban cell phone use while driving. Several states have passed measures to restrict use to "hands-free" or "Bluetooth" devices or have outlawed use completely. White pointed to studies that have found that drivers on cell phones are as inattentive as those who are legally drunk.
Davis and the council acknowledged that phone use is a growing problem in the village, but Davis said the N.C. General Assembly must enact a law.
"Any law like that has to come from Raleigh," Davis said. "We cannot enforce it as a village."
The proposal is expected to be discussed further at a future meeting.
In other business, the council approved a Beautification Program Policy. Under this program, residents can apply for a grant of up to $2,000 to undertake different beautification efforts. The budget includes $5,000 initially for the program.
Lane lauded the efforts of the Pinehurst Business Guild and the Police Department for the Independence Day celebration in the village.
"They did a great job," said Lane. "The parade looked like a Norman Rockwell painting."
Contact John Krahnert III at 693-2473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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