Sheriff: County needs speed limit policy

Published 9:41 pm Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sheriff Grover Smith suggested the Escambia County Commission consider adopting a uniform speed limit policy — especially with the prospect of setting a new speed limit on a county-maintained dirt road.

Two community roads in Commissioner Larry White’s district are up for speed limit consideration. Washington Avenue in the McCullough community and Deer Run Lane off Foshee Road were up for discussion by commissioners.

“A request of the citizens has been made that we post a 25 mile per hour speed limit on Washington Avenue,” White told commissioners. A resident on Deer Run Lane suggested a 15 mile per hour speed limit there.”

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Although citizens across the county have made similar requests to commissioners for years, Smith believes a more uniform way of posting speed limits is needed to avoid confusion.

“It’s not so much for what the people want that we need to consider,” Smith said. “The 15 miles per hour is a good speed for that road, but it would be a good idea to adopt a uniform policy so we don’t have 10 miles per hour in one place and 15 or 20 in another place. With varying speed limits, the people have a hard time keeping up with what is required for a particular road.”

Smith said a uniform policy for major, paved county roads is already uniform in the posting of speed limits.

“Right now in the county, the speed limit is 45 miles per hour on all our roads,” Smith said. “Unless it is otherwise posted, everyone knows that the speed limit is 45 on county roads.”

The commission agreed to consider the requests for the two roads’ speed limits and will address the issue in an upcoming meeting.
In other traffic-related action, the commission also heard about an intersection near Atmore that is posing some serious dangers according to Commissioner Brandon Smith.

“We have a problem at the intersection of 21st Avenue and Old Bratt Road,” Smith told fellow commissioners. “I have had calls that people are not obeying the stop sign on 21st Avenue and people driving along Old Bratt Road are not paying attention to the speed limit. The people in the community there are requesting a four-way top due to so many accidents in that area.”

Sheriff Smith told commissioners he agreed that a four-way stop would be beneficial at the crossing — or any other crossing in the county.

“Historically, four-way stops are the safest intersections — even more safe than a red light,” Smith said. “There are some issues in the area with people not obeying the speed limit and the stop signs in that area. We have, in the past and recently, asked troopers to patrol the area and help out with monitoring the intersection and they’ve been good to help.”

Commissioner Smith agreed that sheriff’s officers have been aware of the situation and have handled it as best they could.

“In the past the sheriff’s office has patrolled the area and it helped some,” Commissioner Smith said. “But we have still had a lot of speeding and still have a few accidents there. We need to look at what can be done to help make that intersection safer for everyone.”

In other business, the commission:

• Reappointed Mavis Torrance to serve on the Escambia County Library Service board

• Approved an agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation for repairs on a pipeline issue along a county roadway

• Heard from Tax Assessor Jim Hildreth regarding a contract for topography work to be used by the county.