Columbus to leave Hwy. 108 speed limit at 25 mph

Published 3:41 pm Tuesday, September 23, 2008

But last week, council was in agreement that drivers naturally go over the speed limit and for safety concerns with pedestrians especially, the speed should remain at 25 m.p.h.

Two residents spoke during a public hearing and both said they wanted the speed limit to remain at 25 m.p.h., noting safety concerns.

Hall said if people actually did the speed limit, he&squo;d push to increase the limit to 30 m.p.h., but since drivers don&squo;t tend to go the limit, he agreed to leave it as is.

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Council also discussed how strictly the Columbus Police Department should enforce the speed limit. Currently, the police department is not being strict about the limit and some council members mentioned that if tickets began being issued, maybe people would drive the speed limit.

Councilman Ricky McCallister said the more congested Columbus gets, the more dangerous roads are becoming, especially for pedestrians. He said he doesn&squo;t want anyone to get injured.

Councilman Michael Gage said he consulted with the Polk County Rescue Squad about the limit and they reported that since the speed limit was lowered to 25 m.p.h. there have been no accidents on the stretch.

&dquo;They (drivers) are still not running 25 m.p.h.,&dquo; McCallister said, &dquo;but if you go up, they will go faster. At 25 (m.p.h.) at least we&squo;ve got it locked in between 25 and 35 m.p.h.&dquo;

Columbus Mayor Kathleen McMillian said she thinks the town should listen to Columbus Police Chief Butch Kennedy, who originally requested that the speed limit be lowered in that area of Hwy. 108. McMillian said Kennedy is the one who knows what goes on out there and knows the traffic pattern.

The speed limit is 25 m.p.h. from around Park Street through downtown Columbus and until the end of the roundabouts, where it changes to 35 m.p.h. toward Tryon.

All council members have said all along that the speed limit downtown needs to stay at 25 m.p.h.