Citing safety concerns on County Road N40, beside Five Island Trail, Emmetsburg City Councilman Steve Finer brought conversation to the council table Monday night suggesting a lower speed limit coming into Emmetsburg.
"We drove it," said Finer. "We started at 45 mph at Emmetsburg City Limits, then dropped down to 35 mph at the Rockport entrance. It was 14 seconds difference between that and 55 mph. I think it's a good idea."
Finer continued, "With the bike trail out there crossing the road, I've seen cars come up and really have to hit the brakes to get around those curves. It's not like it's any different than any other road coming in to our community right now. The speed limits always drop."
Palo Alto County Engineer Joel Fantz was at the council meeting to answer questions and offer his opinion.
Citing studies, Fantz said, "If you think that lowering the speed limit out there will change anything, it really won't."
He discussed driving patterns, and noted that people do not always drive according to the speed limit.
"From a traffic safety standpoint, my recommendation to the board, and my recommendation to you, you're not helping or making things safer," he said. "That's not to say we can't do anything."
Fantz recommended rumble strips south of Rockport Drive, rough crossing signs, and the possibility of painting diagonal crosswalk on N40, in addition to widening the road shoulders.
"Bill (Dickey) and I went out and that's something we can jointly work on together with our own force," said Fantz. "These are things we can do that would actually have an effect, but the speed limit isn't the right choice."
Finer, however, did not agree. "I think we should do everything possible to make people crossing the road, safe."
He added, "With this kind of thinking, we need to up our speed limit (on 25th Street). With that advice, every road coming into town should be 55 mph. That's what people are going to think."
"It's my understanding that Dave (Rouse) has been to the Supervisors," said City Administrator John Bird.
Fantz said, "He did come to the supervisors and address them. The supervisors asked what the city has done. They just deferred it."
On a motion by Councilman Corey Gramowski and second by Councilman Bill Burdick, the council voted to reduce the speed limit to 45 mph, based on what the county does.
"Instead of going back and forth, let's get somebody to make a decision," said Gramowski.
It was noted that the speed has to be corresponding on each side of the road.