Thurston County Commissioners vote to lower speed limits on 9 roads

Residents say they'll fight to get a decision reversed for a rural stretch

lpemberton@theolympian.comJanuary 29, 2014 

A group of residents are hoping Thurston County Commissioners will reverse a decision that lowered the speed limit on Stedman Road Southeast to 40 mph between 103rd Avenue Southeast to Rainier Road.

Steve Rockwell was among several people who stayed after the commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday to find out what they can do to keep the speed limit at 50 mph on that section of the road.

“I don’t believe the commissioners fully understand what the people were saying,” Rockwell said after the commissioners unanimously voted 3-0 to adopt a series of lowered speed limits for nine county roads. Before the vote, about 15 people spoke at a public hearing on the speed limits.

Most comments were in favor of the county’s proposal to lower the speed limit to 35 mph on Stedman from Waldrick Road Southeast to 103rd Avenue Southeast, where it runs adjacent to the Chehalis Western Trail, and homes in the Tempo Lake area.

Some folks said they’d like the speed limit to be reduced to 35 mph on Stedman to Poole Drive Southeast.

“We wholly support this speed reduction,” said Kerry O’Leary, president of the Tempo Lake Glade Homeowners Association. “It’s been a topic of discussion for years.”

William Snyder, lives on Stedman Road, and said people drive way too fast for that neighborhood. He said he wishes the speed limit could be reduced even lower, possibly to 25 mph. “Just trying to get to my mailbox is an adventure,” he said.

However, many of the same folks who were in support of lowering the speed limit in the residential area urged commissioners to keep Stedman at 50 mph in the rural area that goes to Rainier Road.

“I don’t see very many on that road,” said Evelyn Templan, who regularly drives on Stedman and other back roads to get to the VA Hospital. “And very, very few cars.”

Resident Lesa Benningfield said her teenager daughter had a crash on Stedman Road at Poole Drive Southeast, but it had less to do with speed, and more to do with inexperienced driving. She didn’t want the speed limit lowered in that area, either.

“There’s no reason to drive 40,” Benningfield said. Rockwell said there are only a handful of homes on the stretch between 103rd and Rainier, and lowering the speed limit is a waste of taxpayer money.

He said he’s disappointed in the commissioners’ decision, but he wants to work with the county to keep that area 50 mph. “The geometry of the roadway hasn’t changed,” Rockwell said. “I’ve driven that road for 40 years.”

SPEED LIMIT CHANGES

The Thurston County Commissioners unanimously approved the following speed limit changes during their meeting on Tuesday:

*Conine Avenue Southeast, from Nisqually Cut-off Road to dead end, posted 50 mph to 25 mph.

*Conine Street Southeast, from Conine Avenue Southeast to dead end, unposted 50 mph to 25 mph.

*Elderberry Street Southwest, from 193rd Avenue Southwest to State Route 12, unposted 50 mph to 35 mph.

*Judd Street Northeast, from 15th Avenue Northeast to the end of county road, unposted 50 mph to 25 mph.

*O’Connor Road Southeast, from Flumerfelt Road Southeast to the end of county road, unposted 50 mph to 35 mph.

*Scott Road Northwest, from Oyster Bay Road Northwest to dead end, unposted 50 mph to 30 mph.

*Stedman Road Southeast, from Waldrick Road Southeast to 103rd Avenue Southeast, posted 50 mph to 35 mph, and from 103rd Avenue Southeast to Rainier Road Southeast, posted 50 mph to 40 mph.

*104th Avenue Southwest, from east and west of Jones Road Southwest to dead ends, unposted 50 mph to 35 mph.

*107th Avenue Southwest, from east and west Jones Road Southwest to dead ends, unposted 50 mph to 35 mph.

 

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 lpemberton@theolympian.com @Lisa_Pemberton

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