BY DORIS B. TRUHLAR
The Centennial City Council recently voted to leave current speed limits in place. The limits, applicable in residential areas, are mostly 30 miles per hour in the overwhelming majority of the city, with only 16 percent of the city having 25 mph restrictions for residential areas.
Under state law, home rule cities can change their speed limits at their discretion, with certain limitations. The study of the speed limits was presented to the council by Director of Public Works Travis Greiman, who is leaving the city to move to Pennsylvania. He told the council that city staff reviewed various entities’ speed limits. Greiman observed that people generally speed “because they can.”
Where the streets are wide, the result is that speeding is encouraged, Grieman said. Centennial Mayor Stephanie Piko noted that she lives in an area of the city in which 25 mph is the speed limit.
Grieman said the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office will send an officer out if there are complaints, but that is often not a good approach because there is “not a guarantee” that there will be “an enforceable problem.”
Piko noted that some residents think it is “unfair” to have both 30 mph and 25 mph as speed limits. They believe that the city is discriminating against some subdivisions.
Greiman told the council it has “the complete authority” to lower the speed limit to 25 mph. There would, however, be some additional expense to lowering the speed limit, and there would have to be correct posting of the 25 mph limit, he said. The additional expense would be about $75,000 and it would take time, he said.
Additionally, Greiman said that there would need to be about 400 new 25 mph signs manufactured and installed around the city.
Councilwoman Carrie Penaloza asked if many people had requested a lowering of the residential speed limit. Greiman said there have been very few requests to lower the limit.
Councilman Ken Lucas said that the speed limit issue is an example of the city “trying to legislate behavior.” He added that it is “really an impossible task” to change residents’ behaviors.
The mayor noted that the inconsistency from one neighborhood to another in Centennial “is troubling” because it causes some residents to think that selected neighborhoods are favored over others.
The council thanked Greiman for his service to the city, and he was given a standing ovation by the council and audience. Greiman thanked the council and said that it had “put their money where their mouth is.”
To summarize, if the speed limit is not posted in Centennial, then it is 30 mph in residential areas, and that will not be changing.
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