By Jerry LaMartina
Ease off the gas pedal, Mission drivers: Speed limits on Johnson Drive and elsewhere in the city will decrease starting next month.
The Mission City Council passed an ordinance amendment at its Wednesday night meeting that will decrease the speed limit on Johnson Drive between Roe and Lamar avenues from 30 miles per hour to 25 mph and decrease the limit in other parts of the city. The vote was 7 to 1; Ward 2 Councilwoman Arcie Rothrock cast the dissenting vote.
The measure had failed at the council’s Nov. 16 meeting when Rothrock also cast the lone dissenting vote. Three council members were absent from that meeting. Four members voted for the measure, but it was rejected because votes of five council members are required to pass an ordinance.
Rothrock said after that meeting that she voted against the measure because some of her constituents had told her they were concerned that decreasing the speed limit could hurt businesses on that stretch of Johnson drive.
City Administrator Laura Smith said after Wednesday’s meeting that she anticipated the new speed limits would officially go into effect in mid-January and that the city would produce the speed limit signs in-house, along with signs that let people know the city is lowering the limit to improve safety, not to generate revenue, and to give people warnings that the change is coming.
Mayor Steve Schowengerdt convened a nine-person working group on Oct. 5 to review options from Olsson Associates regarding pedestrian and traffic safety, form a consensus and forward recommendations to the Finance and Administration Committee, which the group did. The council unanimously passed two pedestrian and traffic safety measures at its Nov. 16 meeting: designating nine parking stalls for compact cars only to improve traffic sight lines, and upgrading existing pedestrian beacon locations to LED lighting.
Ward 3 Councilwoman Debbie Kring said at Wednesday’s meeting that she and Ward 2 Councilman Nick Schlossmacher had participated in the work group and that they had asked Mission Police Department Captain Dan Madden to analyze “exactly what’s been going on the last two years—data collection showing how many tickets were given (and) what kind of speeds we’re seeing, and some of the speeds are up to 45 mph in that area.”