City Council changes speed limits; complains about older streets

By: Steve Archer, Reporter
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Local government is where the rubber meets the road and the Aug. 11 Lincoln City Council meeting included extended discussions about local streets.

The Lincoln City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that changed the speed limit for seven streets, effective immediately. Six streets will have increased speed limits and one street has a decreased speed limit by 5 mph.

Lincoln Boulevard, between Sterling Parkway and Ferrari Ranch Road, will go from 55 mph to 50 mph.

The speed limit on the following streets go up by 5 mph: Ferrari Ranch Road, between Highway 65 and Lincoln Boulevard, from 35 mph to 40 mph; Industrial/Lincoln Boulevard, between Twelve Bridges Drive to Sterling Parkway from 45 mph to 50 mph; McCourtney Road, between Virginiatown Road and the Lincoln city limits, from 25 mph to 40 mph.

Also, three sections of Twelve Bridges Drive has new speed limits, effective immediately: between Industrial Boulevard and Eastridge Drive, from 40 mph to 45 mph; between Eastridge Drive and Stoneridge Boulevard, from 45 mph to 50 mph; and between Stonebridge Drive and Sierra College Boulevard, from 40 mph to 50 mph.

Lincoln city engineer Ray Leftwich said speed surveys were conducted last December.

“Speed limits are not set arbitrarily or unilaterally,” Leftwich said. “Also, none of the changes precludes the use of neighborhood electric vehicles on roadways.”

Lincoln City Councilman Peter Gilbert said the changes are not designed to fill the city’s coffers but to make Lincoln safer.

“Issuing tickets is not a source of income for the city,” Gilbert said. “The fine does not come to the city; we get less than 2 percent. We lose money on the transaction.”

Later in the meeting, Lincoln City Councilman Stan Nader said he and City Councilman Spencer Short “got an earful over resurfacing streets,” at the National Night Out the first week of August.

“We need to address the streets throughout Lincoln, especially the older part of town,” Nader said. “I’m asking for consensus this evening to look at a street maintenance program for the older part of town.

“Ninth Street residents have been promised improvements for decades,” Nader added. “We need to demonstrate we haven’t forgotten about the older part of town.”

Short said he “almost got lost in one of the potholes” on Sixth Street on his way to the City Council meeting.

“We need to put more priority toward this problem,” Short said. “Bring it forward before next year.”

Gilbert, a member of the city’s street committee, said the council had to find a balance between fixing the older streets and maintaining the newer streets.

“I’m asking staff to focus on spending a portion of money to older streets on an annual basis,” Gilbert said.

Lincoln Mayor Paul Joiner said fixing the older streets would not be easy.

“We continue to have the same challenge, a funding source,” Joiner said.

City Manager Matt Brower said he would look at allocating money during the 2015-2016 fiscal year toward streets in the older area of town.