Petersburg’s public safety advisory board is recommending the speed limit on Sandy Beach road remain at 25 miles per hour. It’s a recurring issue for the advisory board. The board also discussed adding stop signs on Ira II Street on the request of residents of that road.
For iFriendly audio, click here:
The public safety board recently sought public input on the two issues following requests from local residents to make the speed limit and stop sign changes.
Board chair Sid Bacom said he heard from 56 people in favor of increasing the speed limit to 35 miles an hour on Sandy Beach. There were another 54 people against the change and 30 others who wanted to see it boosted but only to 30 miles per hour. Bacom said the input would be given to Police chief Kelly Swihart. “With us seeking public input, we’re trying to give the chief information from the public on their wishes on this,” Bacom said. “The more data we can give him, the better decision he can make. This is an issue that does go to the chief of police. He is in control of city roads.” Bacom said the ongoing issue was raised again by local residents who requested the speed limit increase.
Petersburg’s city council voted to reduce the speed limit on North Nordic Drive and Sandy Beach in 2007, a year after the city took over the roads from the state. The issue came before the city council in 2008, but elected officials made no change that year in the face of strong opposition to an increase.
A number of Sandy Beach road residents told the board Wednesday to leave the speed limit at 25. Bev Siercks walks on that road and was concerned with drivers. “I purposely move myself and the dog off, even off that little area where I can walk because I don’t feel it’s safe when they’re exceeding the speed limit right now. So if you raise that speed limit by another 10 miles an hour and we don’t have sidewalks on either side on that road with all that foot traffic, we’re just asking for trouble,” Siercks said.
Opponents of the speed limit increase asked to hear the argument for a higher limit. Board member Jim Engel summed up some of the sentiment but was not in favor of the move. “The repetitive theme was inconvenience and too slow. That’s it, that was the argument. If it was up to me tonight my advice to the chief was let’s take it off the table,” Engel said, adding, “Let’s be done with it.”
The board made a recommendation to keep the limit at 25 – that passed with only Sally Dwyer voting against it.
Another issue before the board was a request for more stops signs to slow traffic on Ira II street. Mary Midkiff said her concern was the traffic using Ira II to go up the hill to the post office. “Not that we’ve had a lot of accidents but just realizing there’s a lot of traffic using this little unpaved road that doesn’t need to,” Midkiff said. I think if they had to stop at least once they would just go out onto Haugen which is where they should be because it’s the highway.”
The board also discussed safety concerns with children playing on streets in the residential area and at a nearby public park. Board chair Bacom says he also heard from people who did not want stops signs added to that street.
But board member Sally Dwyer thought new stops signs would not be a big hardship.“I just don’t think putting stop signs at fourth and sixth are going to be that much of a hardship. I mean we do it on lots of streets, stop, stop, stop. You have the choice to go around or go main street and then up or go up Haugen and then up. I mean you have choice. But if you don’t mind stopping every 200 feet, go on one of the side streets. I mean, it just doesn’t seem like that big a deal to me.”
The board unanimously approved a motion to have board chair Bacom work with public works director and police chief to make the decision on new stop signs.