Officials say no to request for 15 mph speed limit

Port panel members say crosswalks would do more to improve safety near park
Ozaukee Press staff

A request to lower the speed limit near Columbia Park from 25 mph to 15 mph was rejected Tuesday by Port Washington’s Traffic Safety Commission.

The committee sympathized with the request from a resident, but said that lowering the speed limit isn’t the best way to increase safety near the park.

“If there’s no squad car there enforcing it, it won’t be effective,” said Ald. Paul Neumyer, a committee member who lives near the park.

There was a sign near the park several years ago calling for slower speeds, he added, but it has been gone for some time.

He questioned the need for a lower speed limit, noting that while the park is becoming more popular, many parents drive their children there instead of walking.

“The only ones speeding there are high school kids,” Neumyer said. “You rarely see it (speeding) during the day.”

Ald. John Sigwart, a member of the committee, said that a more effective way to slow traffic might be to install visible crosswalks, perhaps with signs pointing to them.

That seems to work well around schools in the city, which he said are “glowing” with crosswalks.

“That slows me down more,” he said.

Police Chief Kevin Hingiss agreed this might be a better solution to the concern.

Sigwart also noted that if the city were to reduce the speed limit at Columbia Park, similar requests are likely to come from other areas of the city.

“If we do it at Columbia Park, we’ll have to do it at every park,” he predicted.

Committee members agreed to install crosswalks instead of lowering the speed limit.

“We’ll put them in next summer,” Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said.

Neumyer also asked the committee to consider installing small “deer crossing” signs on St. Mary’s Hill near downtown, where the animals often cross the road.

“I know the locals are used to them, but visitors aren’t,” he said.

That was illustrated when family members came to the city recently and “almost took a couple out” because they weren’t expecting deer so close to the downtown, Neumyer said.

Committee members noted that deer can be seen crossing streets throughout the city, not just on St. Mary’s Hill.

The committee took no action on the request.


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