Lowering speed limits in McLouth to 20 mph could be costly
by Dennis Sharkey
Although there’s a concern about speeding in McLouth, don’t expect speed limits to lower any time soon.
Lately concerns have been heard from McLouth residents about the speed limit on residential side streets. Many are concerned that the general speed limit of 30 mph is too fast, including Police Chief Marcus Koch.
“I don’t drive 30 mph down any of these streets because I think that’s too fast,” Koch said.
However, changing the speed limit to 20 mph, like some have suggested, may be a costly move.
Koch said after visiting with City Administrator Carl Chalfant, he believes the city will need at least 50 new speed limit signs for the city.
According to state statute the city can change the speed limit on residential streets, but the new limit must be posted. Right now the state of Kansas operates on a general speed limit of 30 mph in third-class cities on residential streets.
Using rough estimates Koch believes the signs and poles would cost about $2,100, which does not include labor costs for installing the signs.
Mayor Keith Meador said last week that there is no money in the budget for extra signs.
Koch said some citizens who have complained about speeders may have a perception that someone is speeding even though they may not be.
“I take all of these concerns seriously,” Koch told the council last week. “I’m not saying people are not speeding or driving at an unsafe speed, but there may be a perception about how fast they are going. Thirty mph on any one of these narrow streets looks really fast.”
Koch vowed to increase traffic watches and to write more citations if the public is still concerned. Meador agreed that an increased visibility could also help.
On a lighter side Koch said he was pleased with the citywide clean-up effort and thanked everyone who helped.
“Just driving around town I think there’s a very noticeable difference,” Koch said.
Now the enforcement phase of the project will commence. Koch said he and Chalfant will soon begin discussing and collecting information about potential violations to be reviewed.
In other actions:
• The McLouth Fire Department was on TV last week during the annual MDA telethon. Meador said the city’s fire department collected about $850 last weekend for the charity.
“It makes you feel good when you’re standing there among the other fire departments,” Meador said. “It’s neat to be a part of that event.”
In addition to a live performance on Labor Day the department was also featured on the evening news that night.
Water rate information from across the state has been posted on the city’s Web site at cityofmclouth.org. The rates are categorized by city size and situation. Chalfant said McLouth residents should compare rates to other cities that have made major upgrades in the last decade.
Koch reported that he has offered the city’s full-time police position to Patrick Johnson. Johnson currently serves on the civilian police force at Fort Leavenworth and is a veteran and former military policeman. Koch said Johnson also spent more than four years on the Shawnee Police Department where he was considered one of their department’s top DUI officers.
The council briefly discussed the employee handbook. City Attorney Carol Bonebrake said the city’s policy book has not been reviewed in a few years and the time is right for review. She has been maintaining notes and will prepare a draft for the council to review soon.
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