Pocatello council to vote on speed limit changes throughout the city

3 Oct

A sign imposes a 25 mph speed limit on N. Arthur, parts of which might experience a change in speed limit soon. (Jamie Hale/The Bannock Alternative)

The Pocatello City Council will vote Thursday on changes to several Pocatello speed limits. If passed, the ordinance will lower the speed limit on parts of North Arthur Avenue and East Center Street, while raising the limit on parts of East Terry Street and South Second Avenue.

According to the agenda for this week’s city council meeting, the speed limit would be lowered from 50 to 35 mph on North Arthur between King Street and 300 feet north of King Street. The limit would go from 45 to 35 mph on East Center, between the northbound I-15 off-ramp and 600 feet west of Woodhill Way.

The ordinance would also raise speeds, however, from 20 to 30 mph on East Terry between George Parkway and Hospital Way. An annual temporary increase from 20 to 30 mph would also occur on South Second between Fredregill Road and the south end of Ross Park, from the second Monday in September to May 1.

The speed limit changes have been a long time coming. According to Randy Ghezzi, Pocatello street operations superintendent, the changes are a result of a series of speed studies dating back to 2005. After monitoring speed around town, they settled on these four changes, and almost every one is being changed for a different reason.

The increases on North Arthur and East Center are simply due to excessive speeding, said Ghezzi. After watching speeds, the decision was made to attempt to slow things down. Their studies also saw speeding on East Terry, where there has been a lengthy 20 mph school zone, but rather than continue to try to enforce the limit, they’re scrapping it.

The annual change on South Second simply has to do with the seasonal use of the area. Just as cities shut down school zones in the summer, Pocatello would shut down the 20 mph restraint by Ross Park during the rest of the year, when it isn’t being used as much. Ghezzi said the current transition from 45 to 20 mph on that road can be particularly rough on drivers, and the increase to 30 mph should help.

While the changes would please some drivers and annoy others, Ghezzi emphasized that they are all a part of a lengthy process to curb both excessive speeding and unnecessary limitations of speeding. At the end of the day, he and the city are trying to help.

The City Council will vote on the ordinance during Thursday night’s meeting at City Hall.

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