25 mph limit for Pinehurst? You've Got to Be Kidding
Pinehurst Police Chief Earl Phipps hasn't been on the job that long, maybe five or six months.
His initial focus included an order to make his officers more "user-friendly," and that resulted in fewer speed traps and hiding out to arrest older people who were exceeding the speed limit by a few miles per hour. How nice.
But he recently went to the Village Council recommending a 25 mph uniform limit. Is he nuts (as radio and TV man Don Imus would say)?
When I talked with the chief on the phone Friday, he said the 25 mph limit is only one option, but that his intent is to provide the council with as much data as it needs. He told me he has already heard complaints from others that 25 mph is too slow for some areas, and I'm not surprised.
Now, I'm not bashful in criticizing our local constabulary. My column of a year ago, "One Man's Personal Encounter with Village Police," bored in on some deep-seated issues I had with the department then, stimulating 46 Web comments, many of which agreed with me. My blood pressure still goes up when I see a police cruiser, but I have mellowed quite a bit since our cops have become less tricky and ubiquitous.
But to put a 25 mph speed limit on Pinehurst roads and streets, uniformly, is imbecilic and very impractical. My golf cart goes faster than that!
I'm not sure who inspired Chief Phipps, the Village Council or his own opinion. Our council has always loved to tackle issues of the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" variety.
Try going down streets and roads such as Beulah Hill, Morganton, Lake Forest, Diamondhead South, Linden, Burning Tree, Murdocksville, Gun Club, Midland and 211 at 25 mph and see what real tailgating is like.
I think Phipps needs to get out in his own cruiser and try these roads himself to see how unreasonable 25 mph would be.
The Village Council changed the speed limit on N.C. 5 from McKenzie Road to N.C. 211 some time ago, and hardly anyone adheres to that speed. Don't know why it wasn't changed to 30 mph.
It always tickles me to see the Pinehurst police's portable, vehicle-activated speed indicator signs on 35 mph streets and roads (such as St. Andrews and Lake Forest), where if you were going the limit you'd be likely to end up in someone's yard or mailbox. It's too curvy for 35 mph. Common sense seems to prevail there, as most cars are in the 30 mph range.
Maybe the chief is surreptitiously attempting to promote the change so his men can then bag a whole bunch of offenders, increasing the village's revenue.
Having received a couple of speeding tickets in the past, I am sensitive to the pedal-on-the-metal factor and am amazed at speedsters passing me on U.S. 15-501. They are usually young girls, some of whom are either texting or talking on their cell phones as they rush by in their Mustangs and the like.
A friend of mine has an interesting approach. On the highway, he finds the fastest car ahead of him and then shadows that car for as long as possible.
Southern Pines has a sensible policy of 35 mph unless otherwise posted. There are some streets with a 25 mph limit, and Broad Street is 20 mph.
Mind you, I am not opposed to reducing the Pinehurst speed limits, but I think the limit should be 30 mph. And uniform speeds don't bother me at all. In fact, it is a little ridiculous to have multiple limits on the same road - such as Monticello Drive, where it starts out at 25 mph on the east end and increases at some point to 35 mph. Same is true for Lake Hills Road.
Please, please, Pinehurst Village Council, do not act irrationally by enacting a 25 mph uniform speed limit. At least make it 30!
Andy Thomas lives in Pinehurst. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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