S. Beloit ponders reducing speed limits

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SOUTH BELOIT - The South Beloit City Council discussed Monday the possibility of reducing the speed limit in residential areas from 30 to 25 mph.

No action was taken on the item, but council members discussed what would be required to reduced the speed limit due to safety concerns voiced by residents in several neighborhood in the city.

Council member Tom Fitzgerald said he has heard from people on Cheney Drive, in the Misty Meadows subdivision and elsewhere in the city about people exceeding the current 30 mph speed limit. He said by lowering it to 25 mph, it will make motorists aware of what speed they are traveling and it will make it easier to gain a conviction if they are ticketed for speeding.

At the last city council meeting, Fitzgerald had proposed placing stop signs on Liston Avenue and Hunters Way in the Misty Meadows subdivision because residents had concerns about speeding vehicles in the neighborhood. That proposal was defeated by a 3-2 vote by the council.

Fitzgerald returned to the council with the speed reduction proposal to address pedestrian safety concerns. He also said surrounding communities already have reduced speed limits to 25 mph in residential areas. He said he spoke to municipal leaders in Rockton and Roscoe, as well as other communities, who said they reduced the speed limit because of safety concerns.

The council was advised that according to state statute, and engineering study or traffic study would have to be done before the speed limit could be reduced.

Assistant City Attorney Aaron Szeto said the council could target the whole city or just a subdivision for speed reduction, but the traffic study would have to be done first.

Council member Lori Duffy expressed concern about the cost of the study. She also said the city would have to have the study cover the whole city in order to do it right.

Police Chief Patrick Hoey said a cost efficient way to do the traffic study may be to use an automated speed trailer to record speeds of passing motorists.

Council member Nick Jones said putting up new speed limit signs is only one part of the solution, and enforcement will be the key to making the community safer.

Fitzgerald noted that it was two years ago that neighbors in the Misty Meadows subdivision came to him with concerns about traffic safety and for one reason or another, the issue hasn't been addressed.

"We keep pushing this down the road and somebody is going to get injured or worse," he said.

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