Mission council rejects move to reduce Johnson Drive speed limit to 25 — but proposal could come back

The speed limit on Johnson Drive in Mission is 30 miles per hour.

By Jerry LaMartina

The Mission City Council rejected a proposed ordinance amendment that sought to reduce the speed limit on Johnson Drive between Roe Avenue and Lamar Avenue from 30 miles per hour to 25 and to reduce the limit in other areas of the city.

At its regular meeting on Nov. 16, Ward 4 Councilman Ron Appletoft made a motion to amend the speed limit ordinance. Three council members were absent. Four members voted for the measure and Ward 2 Councilwoman Arcie Rothrock voted against it.

The measure was rejected because votes of five council members are required to pass an ordinance, City Administrator Laura Smith said. If a council member who voted for it were to request reconsideration of the issue, it could be reconsidered.

“We are still discussing whether it will go back through Committee or be placed directly on the December City Council agenda,” Smith said in an email.

Rothrock said after the meeting that she voted against the measure because she had talked with some of her constituents who told her they opposed reducing the speed limit on Johnson Drive because they thought it might discourage people from using the street, and thereby hurt businesses in Mission.

Appletoft also proposed two related measures, both of which the council passed unanimously: designating nine parking stalls for compact cars only to improve traffic sight lines, and upgrading existing beacon locations to LED lighting. All three proposals are related to Johnson Drive pedestrian and traffic safety and have been before the council for the past 18 months, he said.

Mayor Steve Schowengerdt had convened a nine-person working group on Oct. 5 to review options from Olsson Associates, form a consensus and forward recommendations to the Finance and Administration Committee, which the group did.

Also at the council meeting, Ward 4 Councilwoman Suzanne Gibbs raised for discussion the possibility of reinstalling a stoplight at Johnson Drive and Woodson.

“We discussed in the beginning that we didn’t like to take it out,” Gibbs said. She said a survey had indicated that some residents wanted the stoplight at that intersection.

Smith said that the source of money to pay for a stoplight there would have to be determined and that a “more comprehensive discussion with the traffic engineers about traffic warrants for the signal” was required, “and what liability we’d have if we put a traffic signal when traffic doesn’t warrant it and an accident happens—what the city’s liability could be.”

Gibbs asked for the issue to be included on the council’s December agenda.