Columbia petitions East Carbon officials for speed limit change
A change in a speed limit in Columbia was requested by a number of the town's residents during the East Carbon City Council meeting on Wednesday.
Members of the community showed up at the meeting prepared to persuade the council to increase the 20 mile per hour speed limit from the turnoff of Horse Canyon to the first house in Columbia to 35 or 40 mph.
The request was due, in part, to a steep hill that the residents of Columbia said would be nearly impossible to climb during the winter months at 20 mph.
Resident Sam Sanderson voiced his concerns about the 20 mph speed limit at the beginning of the city street in Columbia.
"The steep grade of the road in and out of Columbia makes it very difficult to maintain at a 20 mph speed without riding your breaks all the way," Sanderson told the council.
Sanderson explained to the council that most members of the community were in agreement that the speed limit needed to be increased to a reasonable speed.
Sanderson also gave East Carbon City Mayor Dale Andrews a petition signed by a significant percentage of the community's residents in favor of increasing the speed limit.
Although all residents at the meeting were in favor of increasing the speed limit to 35 mph, a misunderstanding about the concern of small children on the road brought up many opinions from attendees at the crowded council meeting.
After Mayor Dale Andrews asked the crowd to be polite, the meeting continued with more opinions from the public.
Most residents of Columbia said that they believed there would be no danger to the small children living near the portion of street that would be increased.
Residents pointed out that the majority of the local children have been taught to obey traffic safety and are warned about the dangers of a busy street.
Sanderson also said that the Columbia houses are farther off of the road than most residences in Carbon County. Sanderson believed the situation would limit the number of accidents on the road.
A second concern raised by a Columbia resident was the difficulty of driving 55 mph and having to quickly brake to 20 mph with no warning on the road.
Other residents said that they believed increasing the speed limit may decrease the number of motorists who speed through the street at more than two or three times the speed limit. Increased police enforcement in the area was also discussed as an idea to solve the problem of speeding.
When asked by a resident if the speed limit could be changed, Mayor Andrews explained that the city ordinance reads that any city street is 20 mph unless posted otherwise. This ordinance allows Andrews and the council to change the speed limit if they deem it necessary.
Before voting on raising the speed limit, Darlene Kunz, a member of the East Carbon City Council, asked members of the community who were in favor of increasing the speed limit to raise their hands. Every resident of Columbia did so and a motion was made to increase the speed limit. With a unanimous vote, the motion was carried.
With the new speed limit in place, councilmember Kunz reminded residents that if they were caught driving over 35 mph, they would be cited by the police.
Also discussed during the meeting was the $250,000 given to East Carbon City and Sunnyside for the completion of the sewer project by the Community Impact Board.
The city had a $500,000 zero interest loan and a $471,520 grant to pay for part of the project but needed $250,000 to complete the project. Mayor Andrews said they will complete the project this winter.
To reduce costs for the project, East Carbon City will be burning down vegetation rather than pay for it to be done with the construction.
In an unrelated matter, Andrews also announced that the Columbia mine is in the process of obtaining permits to open.
The Columbia mine is working to open within the next few years, increasing employment opportunities throughout the area.