Village To Study Speed Limits
By Tom Embrey
Speed limits in some Pinehurst neighborhoods could be lowered soon.
Pinehurst Police Chief Earl Phipps has presented a proposal to the Village Council that would lower the speed limit from 35 to 25 in neighborhoods near Lake Pinehurst, Donald Ross Drive and Monticello Road.
The changes will mean that no residential street within the village has a limit higher than 25 mph.
Council members who heard Phipps' proposal Tuesday night said they likely will consider the plan later this spring.
"We are looking for endorsement from the Neighborhood Advisory Committee and then we will go through the speed limit changes," said Mayor Nancy Fiorillo.
The meeting with the Neighborhood Advisory Committee will be held Monday. The council will consider the proposal at its Feb. 26 meeting.
Phipps told the council that the proposed changes will "cut some of the through traffic out of the neighborhoods."
Council member Doug Lapins said he was concerned about dropping the limit on Monticello from 35 to 25. He argued that research he had found showed that reducing speed limits didn't necessarily cause drivers to reduce speeds.
He said that lowering the limit on Monticello could create a "speed trap."
"It is a poorly thought out and designed plan," Lapins said.
At a meeting on July 24, the Village Council asked Phipps to provide them with more information after he made an initial recommendation of a uniform limit of 25 mph in the village.
During that meeting, Phipps told the council that there are some streets in the village where drivers "can't reach the speed limit safely."
He has said that if the limits are lowered, signage would need to be changed along with informing and educating the public.
Several residents spoke during the meeting last summer and expressed concern that speeding would result in tragedy.
Currently, speed limits on roads in the village range from 20 mph on some neighborhood streets to 45 mph on N.C. 211. A majority of the limits are either 25 or 35 mph. The 35 mph limits are in the neighborhoods on the west side of Beulah Hill Road (N.C. 5).
The speed limit in the historic village center was lowered to 25 mph in 2008 after the village gathered input from residents living there.
At both meetings, Phipps presented data collected by his department that indicated that 85 percent of drivers in the village are within five miles per hour over the post limit.
In other news from Tuesday's meeting, the council voted unanimously to pass a resolution asking the state Department of Transportation to do a corridor study of N.C. 211, including the Traffic Circle.
Village manager Andy Wilkison told the council that the DOT had told him that they have money to fund the study and would do so if the council asks.
Road crews are in the process of widening N.C. 211 from N.C. 73 to the large Traffic Circle in Pinehurst. No alterations to the current Traffic Circle are planned as part of the current work. Some people, including members of council, have questioned how the extra lanes of traffic would impact the Traffic Circle.
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or tembrey @thepilot.com.
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