The Town Council has approved a reduction in the speed limit on El Pueblo Boulevard from 35 to 30 miles per hour. It was a split 4-3 vote to make the change with Mayor Ginny Dickey, Vice Mayor Alan Magazine, Councilman Mike Scharnow and Councilwoman Peggy McMahon supporting the lower limit. Council Members Gerry Friedel, Sharron Grzybowski and David Spelich opposed.
The move was initiated earlier this year when a resident requested a review based on the speed limit on Grande Boulevard, which is 30 miles per hour. The request was based on a belief that the two collector streets in the same neighborhood should have a consistent speed limit.
“The concern was that the character of both roads was the same, so they should have the same speed limit,” Town Engineer Dave Janover told the council.
A study done related to the speed limit demonstrated several factors supporting the change. Those include horizontal curves limiting sight distance, high driveway density leading to encounters with merging and turning traffic and residential nature of the neighborhood creating a greater number of pedestrians and bicycles in the area.
“The study’s recommendation, based on measured speed data, recorded crash data and engineering methodology, is to reduce the existing speed limit on El Pueblo Boulevard (between Fountain Hills Boulevard and Grande Boulevard) from 35 to 30 miles per hour,” Janover said in his staff report. He added that the number of driveways was a big factor in the recommendation.
Crash data for the past five years indicates 22 incidents on the street with two attributed to speed.
Friedel asked about how many schools are on that stretch of roadway (currently 0), how many crosswalks (1), the number of crashes attributed to speed (2), and complaints from residents (1). He said he does not believe this adds up to a need to change the speed limit.
Magazine said the problem with lowering speed limits is people ignore the signs anyway. He said enforcement is the key to effectively reducing the speed of traffic.
Spelich said he lives on El Pueblo, and he said he agrees the key to lower speeds and accidents is enforcement.
“When word gets out (that deputies are out there) you will get a reduction in speed,” Spelich said. He later clarified that he was not accusing the Sheriff’s Office of not doing their job.
Spelich also said that El Pueblo Boulevard is simply too big (wide) for a 30 mile per hour speed limit.
Mayor Ginny Dickey said it is not fair to suggest deputies are not enforcing speed limits there. She said an MCSO report says differently.
The action by the council will officially change the town’s speed limit code for El Pueblo from 35 to 30. The street will need to be posted before enforcement begins.