The police chief says lowering speed limits in residential areas, letting residents request warning signs and conducting a traffic survey in Indian Hills might ease concerns over traffic.
Chief Walter Wilhoite told the City Commission during Monday’s work session that lowering the speed limit from 35 mph to 25 in residential areas could make streets safer where pedestrians and drivers share the road near homes.
“I think it will address most of the issues that were brought up over the last few weeks,” Wilhoite said about the ordinance amendment.
During the April 23 meeting, Julie Grant, who lives on Jackson Drive, asked the city to post a “Deaf Child at Play” sign on her dead end street, because her daughter wears a hearing aid.
“I’m concerned what happened to her friend Charlie Semones is going to happen to my own child,” Grant said during the meeting.
Six-year-old Charlie Semones died April 14 after he was hit by a Jeep while riding his bike in Silver Lake subdivision.
During Monday’s meeting, Public Works Director Jeff Hackbart said city officials decided to create a policy that would allow citizens to request the kind of signs – similar to the “Slow, Children at Play” signs – Grant requested.
After calling the Federal Highway Administration, Hackbart said he learned warning signs are acceptable to use as long as they conform to the federal standard shape and color – a yellow diamond with black outlining and lettering.
“We can put up words on that sign – whatever we choose,” Hackbart said.
The policy would use neighborhood feedback to decide what options would work best for the specific areas in question, Hackbart said. It would involve sending letters to the residents closest to the sites that face the requests and call for a certain number of “buy in” for the signs to be posted.
Wilhoite also said officials are conducting a traffic count and speed survey of Schenkel Lane after two residents requested a stoplight during last month’s voting meeting.
Ray Wingate and Willis Wells said slowing traffic should be a focus after an April 16 wreck on Schenkel Lane. An elderly couple and a Louisville man were hospitalized after the couple’s car flipped at the Indian Hills intersection.
“With the traffic counter we can find out when peak times are and verify they are having a level of service that warrants a traffic signal,” Hackbart said.
The city will use the data to update the 2002 traffic study conducted in the same area, and officials will then decide whether a stoplight would be the best solution, Wilhoite said.
“We’ve said before that there are ramifications to having these things, but if a neighborhood is willing to accept those ramifications then they can make that decision themselves,” Wilhoite said about adopting the new policy for this request.
The City Commission asked to see a draft of the policy during a future meeting.
The commissioners also discussed:
>Trimming the 2012-2013 general budget by $1.7 million to keep from dipping into the reserve to balance the fund.
No decision was made on how to tackle the difference, but City Manager Fred Goins suggested 13 items that could be adjusted to save money. The suggestions include raising the occupational tax, adjusting insurance benefits for employees’ spouses who have another option for health insurance or issuing a 1-5 percent cut to each department’s budget. The total estimated revenue for next fiscal year will be $31.4 million while expenditures are estimated to be about $32.7 million.
The commission agreed to continue the discussion in more detail during the May 21 meeting.
>Hearing an employee appeal June 18. The commissioners went into closed session for about 45 minutes to discuss the appeal.
>Scheduling this month’s voting meeting for 12:30 p.m. Monday. It will be considered a special meeting, and discussion items will be limited to what is listed on the agenda.