The need for less speed: Landis discusses lower speed limits

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 4, 2016

By Rebecca Rider

LANDIS — Speed limits were the topic of the night at the Landis town board meeting Monday.

Town Manager Reed Linn reported to the Board of Aldermen that the North Carolina Department of Transportation denied town requests to change the speed limits on two streets: Mount Moriah Church Road and Kimball Road. In August, Landis made the request to lower the speed limit on both roads — along with several others — from 45 mph to 35 mph in order to allow golf carts and other low-speed vehicles to travel within the city limits.

According to law, low-speed vehicles are not allowed to exceed speeds of more than 27 mph and may not travel on roads with a posted speed limit greater than 35 mph.

The board approved the changes and the ordinance at its Aug. 5 meeting, and the town took the changes to the Department of Transportation for approval. Linn said the state agency required the town to first repeal the posted speed limit before it could be lowered. They approved the repeal on two roads — on West Ryder Avenue between Mount Moriah Church Road and Bloom Street and on South Main Street.

Linn said that only one of the roads was in the original ordinance. The board did not take South Main Street into consideration in the issue, but the speed limit on the road is split by lane. Cars traveling northbound on South Main Street may travel up to 45 mph, while cars traveling south have a 35 mph speed limit as they leave Landis. The department’s repeal means that the town will have to tweak its pre-existing ordinance.

The Department of Transportation did not include a repeal for North Main Street, another road mentioned in the ordinance, but Linn said one was expected.

“Well we’re not eating the roads up with golf carts, so we’ll be fine,” Mayor Mike Mahaley said.

According to Linn, Mount Moriah Church Road’s change was rejected by the state because it is considered a rural road, and the state felt it would be unsafe to have a speed limit lower than 45 mph. Kimball Road was declined because a portion of the road lies outside the city limits.

Landis Police Chief Bob Wood said that since the ordinance was passed, only one golf cart has been registered.

The board also voted to lower the speed limit in the Oaks of Landis subdivision from 35 mph to 25 mph. Representatives of the subdivision requested the change on existing streets, but the board agreed to make a blanket change to allow for growth.

Wood also proposed an ordinance that would require vehicles traveling slower than 10 miles below the posted speed limit to pull over at the first available spot and allow traffic to flow.

“It pretty much speaks for itself what we’re trying to do here,” Wood said.

The request for the ordinance comes after railway construction has shut down all but one of the town’s crossings and construction of an underpass has clogged town streets with heavy, slow-moving equipment.

“It’s a nightmare,” Wood said of traffic in the town.

Both ordinances were approved and the board called for a public hearing to be held for both at its Nov. 7 meeting.

In other business the board:

• Voted to declare one of its K-9 units surplus and donate it to the town of Mooresville. The decision came so that the dog could follow its human partner, who has accepted a job in Mooresville.

• Heard the annual Cancer Awareness 5k will be held Saturday, Oct. 15. The 5k begins at the Landis pool, 301 W. Rice St. at 10 a.m.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.