Taking right steps for safety on Summit Street

THE TRANSITION FROM ONE speed limit zone to a lower one is often a major enforcement challenge.

It’s also one area that typically requires additional enforcement.

That’s true in the city of Plymouth as it is anywhere there’s a transition from country to city.

One particular area where that issue arises in the city is at the city’s western boundary on Summit Street, where traffic enters the city from County Z.

City officials and City Council members have heard concerns and complaints raised by residents of that part of the city, concerned over traffic exceeding the speed limit and the danger that creates for other drivers, pedestrians and residents.

The council’s Public Works and Utilities Committee addressed those concerns and how to answer them at a meeting last month.

It was a good discussion, with a number of measures proposed by city staff for the committee members to consider.

The suggestions included a speed limit sign at the city entrance with flashing LED lights to emphasize the lower speed limit. There was also a variety of radar speed display signs that were considered as well.

One of the latter, which measures and displays an approaching vehicle’s speed, is already located on the east side of Highland Avenue just north of Valley Road, designed to serve as a deterrent to speeding for vehicles passing the high school/ Horizon Elementary School campus on Highland.

Alderman Greg Hildebrand, who represents a part of the affected neighborhood, supported either answer but also urged the city to petition the county to lower the speed limit on County

Z west of the city limits.

That would be an effective step to take. Transitioning directly from a 55 mph speed limit on the county highway to 25 mph on the city street is always abrupt, but the topography of Summit Street only exacerbates that.

From the west city limits on Summit

Street, it is literally a rapid descent down the hill to the heart of the city – a descent many drivers seem incapable of managing while also reducing their speed by more than half.

Making it less of a change in speed from one side of the city boundary to the other would hopefully make it easier to achieve the lower, safer speed city streets demand.

City Administrator Brian Yerges noted that the city has made the request to lower the speed limit on County Z in the past only to have it declined by county officials.

Still, the city should make another attempt to lower the speed limit – and this time, the county should hear and agree to the change.

There are a large number of residents along Summit and adjacent streets who would strongly endorse that move and can provide considerable strong evidence to support it.

The city is taking steps to increase safety, as the committee endorsed proceeding with a radar display sign on Summit Street. That would be a good first step.

But combining it with a lower speed limit on County Z at the approach to the city would make it even more effective.

All that would leave is for the most effective step to be taken – for drivers coming on east on County Z to remember they have entered the city and slow down accordingly.

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