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Council gets update on driving speeds downtown

October 2, 2018

SCOTTSBLUFF — According to police department data, the majority of drivers are staying within the speed limit through the downtown area.

Scottsbluff Police Chief Kevin Spencer outlined the data for members of the city council at its Monday meeting.

Electronic speed signs are posted at the north and south ends of Broadway, along with two signs, one for each direction in the 1700 block. There are no stop lights through the downtown area, where the speed limit is 20 mph.

Spencer, who comes to work in his unmarked car from the south, said he sees motorists slowing down once they cross the railroad tracks so most of them are aware of the lower speed limit and are observing it.

The data collected by the electronic signs from Aug. 1 to Sept. 1 showed that more than 99 percent of inbound traffic slowed from an average 30 mph. It was similar for outbound traffic. Most motorists were also observing the 20 mph speed limit in the 1700 block intersections.

There were also problems as a small number of vehicles were clocked in the 35-40 mph range. That led to a number of citations.

“The electronic signs are nice for us to track data on traffic patterns,” Spencer said. “Since they were installed about two years ago, we’ve had no problems with them.”

Spencer said the downtown signs are wired into the electric system, but he’d like to investigate solar-powered signs when new ones are considered.

But the cost is steep, as a set of two solar-powered signs would run in the $6,000 range. Also, they could only be installed in areas that get sufficient sunlight to power them.

“I wish we were there to write citations for more of the speeders,” Spencer said. “When the speed limit is 20 and they’re going 37, that’s pretty extreme. But for the most part, people are being reasonable.”

Although there’s not money in the police department budget, Spencer said he’d like to see additional signs on 27th Street near the high school. Other good locations he mentioned were along Avenue B and Avenue I near Walmart.

Also during the Monday meeting, council members heard a final reading and approved an ordinance to change the rates for the disposal of trees, shrubs and yard waste to the city disposal site.

Non-residential/commercial yard waste and tree disposal from outside the city now has an inbound cost of $25 per ton.

Inbound residential yard waste from outside the city is now $5 per 450 pounds.

Outbound mulch prices were set at $25 a ton and compost at $18 a ton.

Residents and commercial customers within the city limits may still dispose of residential yard waste free of charge.

The new rates go into effect on Nov. 1.

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