Sulphur Springs City Council approved a resolution reconfiguring the College Street, Jackson Street and J.D. Drive intersection into a 4-way stop and considered on first reading a proposal to amend a traffic ordinance regarding the speed limit on Mockingbird Lane.
The City is getting ready to open up the first phase of the reconstructed College Street, and is nearing the completion of the intersection of Jackson Street and J.D. Franklin Drive at College Street. All new sidewalks are being constructed along College Street to provide a network of sidewalks from downtown along College Street, east toward Interstate 30. Prior to the current project, sidewalks were missing from sections of College Street, and there were only stop signs on Jackson Street and J.D. Franklin Drive.
Although the contractor was scheduled to construct several driveway approaches on College Street, the decision was made for the City of Sulphur Springs Capital Construction Division to construct the intersection at College Street at Jackson Street, adding brick crosswalks and squaring it up. That, the city manager noted, is too complicated for the contractor to do, so the contractor signed a deductive change of order.
Assistant City Manager/Community Development Director Tory Niewiadomski asked the City Council at the Nov. 1 meeting to approve a Resolution No. 1318 authorizing four-way stop signage at the intersection of College with Jackson Street and J.D. Franklin Drive.
The red brick brick crosswalk will be red to signify a pedestrian crosswalk at that busy intersection. With the crosswalk, Niewiadomski recommended that stop signs be installed on College Street for pedestrian safety. Stop signs would required motorists to stop for safety of any pedestrians that may be walking along that street of city roadway.
Place 2 Councilman Harold Nash made a proposal, which Place 7 Councilman seconded, approving Resolution No. 1318, allowing the four-way stop signs to be put into place. The City Council unanimously agreed, allowing the City Capital Construction personnel to begin on the project.
Proposed Speed Ordinance
The City Council also was asked to consider on first reading an Ordinance amending section 25-35 in Chapter 25 in the city’s Code of Ordinances, which would set a prima facie sped limit on Mockingbird Lane from East Shannon Road to Posey Lane.
Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jason Ricketson presented data collected during a speed survey of Mockingbird Lane, conducted after a City Council member asked him to look into the speed limit on the city street between the Interstate 30 south service road and State Highway 11 east. The councilman had indicated that traffic through that area sometimes backed up, creating traffic congestion in the area at times. A speeding profile was developed by placing a machine that gauges speed of motorists as each vehicle passed it. Information was also pulled from police records regarding traffic crashes at that location.
Essentially, using Texas Department of Transportation guides, the study showed the average vehicle was traveling at 33 to 34 mile per hour. Of the more than 61,000 vehicles that passed the trailer with radar, 85% were rolling at speeds just over the current 30 mph speed limit for Mockingbird Lane, but under 35 mph. Based on the occupation along that stretch of roadway, which is heavily populated, has a primary school and restaurants and a shopping center, city official said even without a posted limit. The average person would reasonably slow down to that speed to accommodate the traffic and pedestrians in the area.
City officials have over the past 10 years responded to four major and one fatal crash, and 69 minor crashes.
Place 5 Councilman Gary Spraggins made a motion to approve on first reading Ordinance No. 2819 setting the speed limit at 35 mph on that stretch of Mockingbird Lane, which would still be safe for those in the area.
The school zone would not be impacted, as the school speed limit would still be enforced just as it is during peak school hours.
Place 2 Councilman Nash noted while 30 seemed slow, it should not be 45 mph either. He then seconded Spraggins’ motion to approve the ordinance amendment setting the speed limit at 35 mph. The motion received unanimous approval of the City Council.
The ordinance is expected to be presented again at the December City Council meeting for second reading. In order for Ordinance 2819 to become official, the City Council will be required to approve it on second and what at that time would be final reading at a future meeting.