Resident unhappy with speed limit sign

Donelle Pardee Whiting

Responding to concerns from residents in a Santa Fe Road neighborhood, Washington city officials added a four-way stop sign at the intersection of Santa Fe and Oak Ridge at the end of October.

Previously, only traffic on Oak Ridge had a stop sign, while Santa Fe traffic did not have to stop.

The change was in response to increased traffic, especially during the morning and evening drive times.

According to residents, the neighborhood has more than 250 residents.

Jeff Fuerst addressed city leaders at the Oct. 27 council meeting, saying in addition to traffic volume, there is an issue with the speed.

City officials said at the time, the new stop sign should help slow traffic.

Since the addition of the new stop signs, city workers put a new 25 mph speed limit sign about 225 feet from the intersection.

The Santa Fe/Oak Ridge neighborhood is bordered by unincorporated Washington. The section of Santa Fe within Washington city limits is 25 mph, whereas the speed limit along the unincorporated section is 30 mph.

Kevin Earle, 1608 Santa Fe, addressed city council members at the Nov. 17 meeting.

Earle said that although he is happy there is now a four-way stop at the intersection, which is near his home, he is unhappy about the new speed limit sign.

He said the new speed limit sign in front of his property is 375 feet from the line separating city limits and unincorporated Washington.

“My main concern is the children living in the west end of the Oak Ridge subdivision left out (of the 25 mph speed zone),” Earle said.

Earle asked that council members consider moving the sign closer to the unincorporated area.

He said he would also like to see additional signs.

Earle said there is an empty post farther down the road, within city limits, that could be used.

With the speed limit sign so close to the stop sign and not at the city limit line, Earle said he believes motorists will continue at 30 mph until they see the sign.

By that time, he added, they are already in a 25 mph zone.

In addition, Earle said he thinks the location of the sign would distract motorists from seeing the stop sign.

Earle suggested that the city put a speed-zone-ahead sign in place.

Public services manager Bill Bimrose said they cannot put city signs on township property.

However, both he and Police Chief Jim Kuchenbecker said they believe the sign is in the appropriate spot.

“It would be good to see the township limit reduced,” Kuchenbecker added.

Bimrose added that another issue with the 30 mph zone is the properties along that stretch of Santa Fe do not have sidewalks, so people are forced to walk in the street.

Bimrose said Washington Township currently has counters in place to study traffic flow.

He added he does not expect any decisions for about a month.

Once the data is collected, township officials will decide what to do about the 30 mph zone.

Bimrose said if the township agrees with the city’s recommendation to reduce the speed limit on its portion of Santa Fe, new signs will be installed.

Until then, the city will install a reduce speed sign on the empty post at the city limit.