Pinehurst Council to Look at Residential Speed Limits
The Pinehurst Village Council will take a hard look at creating a uniform speed limit on residential streets in the village.
Following a discussion during Tuesday’s work session, the council asked Police Chief Earl Phipps to gather more information for consideration at the council’s July 24 meeting.
“My goal is to make sure they have the best information so they can make the best decision,” Phipps said.
Phipps said Thursday he would recommend that the uniform limit be 25 mph. He said he would include a timeline for the feasibility of implementing a uniform speed limit villagewide.
Some of the considerations that must be reviewed in that timeline are a change in signage and how to inform or educate the public about the possible changes, Phipps said.
“This is something that just can happen overnight,” he said.
During a presentation to council Tuesday, Phipps said that as he regularly drives around the village, he has discovered some areas where the speed limits are a concern.
“There are some ares where you can’t reach the speed limit safely,” Phipps said.
After the meeting, he said that many of those areas are on streets around Lake Pinehurst.
During Tuesday’s meeting, residents also spoke about their safety concerns on streets such as St. Andrews, Diamondhead and Burning Tree, among others.
Francine Smarrelli, who lives on St. Andrews Drive, said the speeding traffic near her home is “ridiculous.”
“I’m afraid it (speeding) is going to cause a tragedy,” she said.
Resident Tom Race said the mailbox at his home on Diamondhead Drive has been struck twice by speeders. “And if they can hit a mailbox, they can hit a pedestrian,” he said.
Phipps called the input from all the residents who spoke valuable.
“It was good to see that some of the places I saw as issues, the residents saw as issues too,” Phipps said.
Currently, speed limits on roads in the village range from 20 mph to 55 mph. A majority of the limits are either 25 mph or 35 mph.
The higher speed limits are more predominant on the west side of Beulah Hill Road (N.C. 5). The speed limit in Old Town was lowered to 25 mph in 2008 after the village gathered input from residents living there.
“We need to have consistency in the speed limits throughout the village,” resident Brian Deaton said.
When asked by the council why there were variances in speed limits on village streets in various neighborhoods, Village Manager Andy Wilkison said there are two primary factors: annexation into the village and petitions by residents to have the limits lowered.
Wilkison said that at the end of the day, setting or changing speed limits on any village streets is up to the council.
The council was receptive to the idea of creating a uniform limit.
“I don’t have a problem with a majority of the speed limits,” council member John Cashion said. “But I am not sure that any need to be raised.”
Mark Parson, who has complained that the village has too many signs, asked if the uniform limit could be a way to eliminate an excess of speed limit signs in the village.
Resident Pat Corso, who is an avid cyclist, said the issue is broader than just speed.
“The is no place for bikers or pedestrians to go,” he said. “There is no bailout.”
He proposed the village consider adding shoulders to certain roads to provide room for cyclists and pedestrians.
Phipps presented numbers that his department collected through the placement of the portable trailer that tracks speed. According to data collected, 85 percent of the drivers in the village are within five miles per hour over the posted limit.
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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