By Jerry LaMartina
Mission is in the process of testing new electronic speed limit signs along Johnson Drive and in residential parts of the city after the city council passed an ordinance amendment in December to lower speed limits throughout the city.
Mission Police Capt. Kirk Lane said at the council’s Finance and Administration Committee meeting Wednesday night that the department had written 21 speeding warnings and 15 speeding citations from Jan. 10 to Jan. 24. Some members of the council had previously expressed reservations about reducing the speed limit on Johnson Drive from 30 to 25 because they feared a spike in the number of tickets issued.
“To me, that wasn’t alarming — almost one a day for speeding,” Lane said of the citations. “That’s not too bad.”
Within about two weeks, the city will start testing a portable electronic sign in residential areas that flashes when a driver passes it while exceeding the speed limit, Lane said. The sign’s cost ranges from about $2,600 for a basic model to about $4,800.
The manufacturer, TrafficLogix Corp. of Spring Valley, N.Y., will loan the sign to the city for 30 days. Lane said he didn’t know yet how many of the signs the city might buy, if the council approves it.
Starting today, the city also will start testing a portable speed trailer with a message board along Johnson Drive for 30 days. It’s also on loan from its manufacturer, Lenexa-based Kustom Signals Inc., and costs about $15,000. If the council were to approve it, the city would buy only one of the trailers.
The council passed the ordinance amendment on Dec. 21 to decrease the speed limit on Johnson Drive between Roe and Lamar avenues from 30 miles per hour to 25 and to decrease the limit in other parts of the city (p. 82).
The council has been discussing traffic along Johnson Drive for nearly two years. 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.
The speed limit ordinance amendment failed at the council’s Nov. 16 meeting when Ward 2 Councilwoman Arcie Rothrock cast the lone dissenting vote, as she did on Dec. 21. Three council members were absent from the Nov. 16 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 the Nov. 16 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.
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.