Council OKs lowering speed limits on corridor, neighborhoods

Published 12:10 am Thursday, October 17, 2019

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By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

Speeders, beware. The Clemmons Village Council completed the final step of approvals for the Street Modification Guide with recommendations for a reduction of speed limits to 35 mph in a couple of busy corridors and a consistent 25 mph speed limit for neighborhood streets.

The action in Monday night’s meeting followed a lengthy process of reviewing speed limit modifications both internal to the village as well as external to NCDOT-owned roads in Clemmons by Jonathan Guy, an engineer from Kimley-Horn.

Guy had encouraged the village to look at speed limits throughout the town before implementing the new guide, and he presented his findings before the council, starting with a recommendation of making the speed limit 35 mph for the entire U.S. 158 corridor in Clemmons.

“There is a 35 mph section through your village limits, then it changes to 45 mph and then as it crosses the Yadkin River, it then changes back down to 35 mph,” Guy said. “Our recommendation is changing it from 45 mph to 35 mph for a consistent speed limit as you enter the village all the way through Clemmons and then as you go into the town of Bermuda Run.”

Another section of road that Guy addressed was on Lewisville-Clemmons Road from Amp Drive, where he recommended a change of extending the current speed limit of 35 mph up to Peace Haven Road because of the significant change in traffic and development in that area.

“If you’re familiar with that section just to the north of Peace Haven, you have a completely different characteristic with the large median-divided section,” Guy said. “Our recommendation is changing the transition point from 35 mph to 45 mph from Amp Drive to Peace Haven Road. The street typical section changes at this point, which reflects a much higher speed limit.”

Guy also recommended maintaining a speed limit of 35 mph for the NCDOT portion of Lasater Road, since it serves as a collector road, but the two sections of North Lakeshore Drive and the village portion of Lasater should be 25 mph since they are internal neighborhoods that wrap around the lake.

Guy concluded with his recommendation of making all neighborhood streets 25 mph for the streets owned by Clemmons as well as NCDOT streets that are not collectors.

“It doesn’t make sense for you to have an inconsistent policy of 35 mph on some streets and 25 mph on other streets where they are truly neighborhood or local streets,” he said. “Be consistent about that and the application of that.”

When asked about the process of changing the speed limits on NCDOT streets, Guy said that it was a straightforward process of sending a petition to the division office with recommendations based on the findings, and then it would be presented to the state board. He said that the process usually takes about two months.

After Guy’s presentation, councilman Mike Combest said he felt like there had been a significant number of meetings and public input, and that he felt comfortable moving forward after “a good thorough analysis.”

Councilwoman Michelle Barson said she was ready to make the motion to recommend approval of the changes proposed by Guy, and it passed unanimously.

Village Manager Scott Buffkin said that the town had already received two applications for street modifications and that they would be heard at a Transportation Committee meeting on Tuesday.

In other highlights from Monday night’s meeting, the council:

• Hired Blanco Tackabery as the new law firm for the village, taking action after returning from a closed session at the conclusion of Monday night’s meeting. The vote was 3-2 in favor of making the change with Combest (who made the motion), Barson and P.J. Lofland in favor, and Chris Wrights and Scott Binkley opposed.

• Approved the preliminary subdivision review for the Tanglewood Forest subdivision, which has 18 lots on 5.52 acres off Clinard Road, after the developer agreed to “make it work” with any concerns over a tree save area.

• Approved the site plan for a one-story, 8,820-square foot medical office facility (Phase II – Amendment to C-207) on Peace Haven Road. This is an outparcel across from the YMCA that was part of Peace Haven Village that came in with Publix.

• Heard from planner Nasser Rahimzadeh on temporary signage and making comparisons with what the Town of Lewisville has in place and possible changes for Clemmons to consider. After a discussion, it was decided that Rahimzadeh would look into ways of simplifying the process and come back with more information.

• Approved the purchase of a new bucket truck for $115,505 from Altec. The budgeted amount was $125,000.

• Heard from Buffkin regarding a large helicopter that will be at Haywood Industries on Middlebrook Drive on Saturday morning lifting rooftop air conditioning units from the parking lot to the roof. The company said it wanted to get this communication out to our neighbors in hopes of minimizing the excitement. “This is not an invasion,” Buffkin said.

• Heard from Shannon Ford in the marketing/communications report that 62 individuals participated in the first-ever fall medicine drop last weekend where 34.5 pounds of pills were collected. Also, Ford said that 86 students participated in the fall cleanup where they covered 16.7 miles of roads and collected 71 bags of trash. She added that the annual Monster Dash and Goblin Hop will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Village Point Greenway.