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  Sunday November 23rd, 2014    

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Speed limit reduction bad idea (12/02/2007)
By John Edstrom


     
Always beware of the person who insists that because there is a problem, something has to be done, especially when the "something" advocated makes no promise to solve the problem. The Winona Fire Department is urging the City Council to ask the Minnesota Department of Transportation to lower the speed limit along Hwy. 61 from Vila to the eastern city limits from 55 mph to 45 mph. However, the fire department freely admits that such a move, "may not be popular, and ...may not be the answer" to reducing traffic accidents along Hwy. 61.

In fact, a list of accidents along this stretch shows that the big majority are taking place where the speed limit already is 45, from Vila St. out to the intersection with Hwy. 14, and where the intersections are already controlled by lights, at Mankato Ave., Hwy. 14, Gilmore Ave., and Huff St. It is easier to argue, based on this information, that the speed limit should be increased, not lowered.

In any case, where no convincing argument is to be made that a speed limit reduction will prevent accidents, bringing in MnDOT is never a good idea. It is like asking a large foreign country to come into a small one to help resolve a dispute. You never know exactly what it will do, nor even when it will ever leave. MnDOT will reappear uninvited soon enough; every day before that happens should be counted a blessing.

Winona certainly does have a traffic congestion problem in the area of Hwy. 61, and Mankato Avenue, caused by the unwise location of a new middle school south of that intersection, and the poorly advised placement of a retail park to its north. The only things to be done immediately to any certain positive effect, are to drive carefully in that area, and discourage dense development south of it. A speed limit reduction along Hwy. 61 there is sure only to make traffic congestion worse, putting motorists into a bad temper and likely to drive worse than Minnesotans already do.

J.E.  

 

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