‘Safety concern’ Royal Lane gets speed cut


By Chris Berendt - [email protected]



Another move by city officials toward reducing speed limits to increase safety was made Tuesday night, with the target this time around being Royal Lane.

Following a concern raised at last month’s City Council meeting, Mayor Lew Starling and Council members requested Police Chief Jay Tilley conduct a speed survey on Royal Lane. Similar speed reductions and traffic modifications have taken place in recent months on Herring and Kerr streets, near Sunset Avenue School, as well as on Stetson Street and Stewart Avenue.

Following the recent study, Tilley recommended another one: reducing the speed limit on Royal Lane from 35 to 25 mph, finding that about half the vehicles traveling on the residential road were doing so at or close to the current 35 mph limit, which he said was just too fast for the area.

“There are traffic safety concerns for Royal Lane,” Tilley asserted in his findings.

Council concurred, unanimously adopting a resolution approving the change, a requirement as Royal Lane is a state-maintained road and the request, in the form of the resolution, has to be submitted to N.C. Department of Transportation.

The Clinton Police Department conducted a speed survey, collecting data from its radar trailer and police officer observations over a five-day period spanning Nov. 5-9, including nights and weekends.

Royal Lane is a residential dead end street that starts in the 1100 block of Sunset Avenue. The speed limit for the street is 35 mph, and it lines a residential area leading to Royal Lane Park, the City of Clinton’s largest recreation area. The survey focused on two time periods, 6 to 8 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m.

According to the study, submitted by Tilley, the average traffic count for the morning was 40 vehicles per hour, 70 percent of which were recorded at speeds over 25 mph, with the average being 34 mph. The highest speed recorded was 49 mph.

During the 3-6 p.m. time frame, the average traffic count was much higher, at 114 vehicles per hour, with more than half vehicles — 54 percent — recorded at speeds over 25 mph, with the average being 32 mph. The highest speed recorded was 56 mph.

Traffic volumes increase from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and decrease after 6 p.m. with average speeds staying about the same, the study found.

“The street has a high number of children who are pedestrians or engaged in recreational activities at the park,” said Tilley. “There are frequent pedestrians crossing Royal Lane from the housing projects and residential homes at various times of the day. There is significant school bus travel in the area, picking up children during school sessions. The pedestrian traffic is extremely similar to school zone area traffic.”

There are also no sidewalks on Royal Lane, the chief noted, so senior citizens using motorized chairs were forced to use the roadway as were pedestrians. Even though many vehicles were traveling beneath the posted speed limit, he said, those traveling around 35 mph were still too fast.

“The high number of children who play and walk Royal Lane must use the roadway. Vehicles doing 35 mph, the posted speed limit, pose a hazard because of the proximity of the children to the travel lane. This would also include senior citizens using the motorized wheel chairs,” Tilley stated. “The average speed and number of vehicles operating at or close to 35 mph is over 50 percent.

Tilley recommended, and Council approved, reducing the speed limit on Royal Lane to 25 mph, while also distributing educational materials about the issue, conducting an enforcement campaign after the reduction and reviewing posted signage with Public Works staff. The resolution will be sent to DOT.

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

By Chris Berendt

[email protected]

http://clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_Tilley-mug.jpg

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

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