Council considers petition policy for speeding issues

A possible reduction of the speed limit on Malone Drive from 30 miles per hour to 15 mph was postponed until the next Council meeting pending the possible adoption of a standardized policy for residents to request speed humps to address speeding issues.
Lt. Chris Andrews presented the results of a 10-hour traffic survey performed on Malone Dr. by the Devine Police Department. During the various times of the morning, afternoon, and evening that the survey was conducted, officers observed 81 vehicles, none of which were over the speed limit.

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The survey was done both in an unmarked vehicle using a handheld radar as well as in a marked vehicle.
District 5 Councilwoman Debra Randall said she receives call almost daily about people “zooming” down the road.
“I’m getting screamed at, which I don’t blame them, I would be screaming too,” Randall said. “Because we’ve got little kids that are going to get, somebody’s going to get hurt. So I don’t know what we do.”
Mayor Cory Thompson said that reports of speeding vehicles don’t do any good unless an officer sees the infraction.
“I can’t take somebody’s word for it, because what ‘zooming’ is to you, I need to quantify that with an actual numeric that I can put on something,” Andrews said.
Thompson said that speeding is an issue all over town and floated the idea of having concerned residents petition for City intervention.
“It’s in every district, everyone Councilmember has probably heard this problem,” Thompson said. “So how do we want to do it where we can go forwards and say, ‘Hey, if you can get 50 percent of people on your street to request speed bumps or something and we’ll go ahead and take action’?”
Randall said a percentage would have to be chosen, and after District 2 Councilman Steve Lopez asked if she could take the idea back to her constituents, Randall said that wasn’t the issue.
“If they’re asking us to do something, we need to do something,” Randall said, adding that she didn’t know if lowering the speed limit would actually work.
Andrews said that the speed limit on Malone Dr. had been 15 mph before being raised to 30 mph.
“And now we’re kind of back to where we were ten years ago, ten-plus years ago,” Andrews said.
“But just lowering the speed limit is not necessarily going to change people’s habits,” Thompson said.

District 3 Councilman David Espinosa asked how many houses are on Malone Dr., and echoed Thompson’s suggestion about setting a percentage of residents
“I would say probably 50 percent,” Espinosa said. “It would give us some kind of direction to get on board.”
District 4 Councilwoman Kathy Lawler asked what would happen after a petition was presented, and Thompson said that Council would act on it.
“The last few times that we authorized speed bumps, they were $1,000 to $1,500, if I remember correctly,” Lawler said. “So if you have 20 streets, that would be impossible. I’m not saying we don’t need to do something, but we have to think of the budget too.”
City Attorney Tom Cate pointed out that if Council wanted to institute a petition policy, it needed to be placed on the agenda for another meeting, meaning the issue needed to be tabled.
A Lopez-Lawler motion to table action on the Malone Dr. speed limit passed 4-1 with support from Espinosa and District 1 Councilman Rufino “Flipper” Vega. Randall voted against the motion.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer