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Park City Council considers 15 mph speed limit city-wide

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The Park City Council is considering setting the speed limit to 15 mph limit city-wide.

The speed limit on Park City roads could be changing – and don’t expect to be driving any faster in town.  

With pleas from residents living in Prospector and Thaynes to slow down the traffic in their neighborhoods, the Park City Council last week directed staff to look at lowering speed limits across the city to 15 miles per hour – while allowing some wiggle room for exceptions for what are called collector and arterial roads, like Meadows Drive.

No action was taken and Park City Engineer John Robertson will come back to the council at a later date with his recommendations.

With the passage of House Bill 235 this year, cities and counties are now allowed to establish their own speed limits on city streets without having to complete a traffic study.

One Comstock Drive resident – who noted his mailbox has already been taken out twice this year – supports a 15 mph speed limit. He said there are a lot of speeders on his street who don’t care about his mailbox, or his kids, but maybe they will care about speeding tickets.

“There’s kids in Prospector which is why a lot of us are here today and we don't want you to have to make that phone call or the chief to make that phone call to a family to say your child has been injured, Justin Lagotic said. “Your child's been killed because of speeders and that's the whole goal here is to get the speed reduced, because that one phone call will change everybody's lives here.”

Park City Council member Jeremy Rubell was the one who suggested lowering the speed limit citywide.

“Like why not just do it, Rubell asked? “Like, why not just say 15 miles an hour is the lowest common denominator, make all of the roads under our control 15 miles an hour because it doesn't include to 224 or 248 anyway. Like this isn't that big of a city. I mean, what's it going to take people in an extra 10 seconds to get where they're going? And if they break the law, then good, maybe we'll give them a reckless driving ticket instead of like a minor speeding ticket if they're going 35 down to 15. Why can’t we just do that?”

According to Robertson, except for S.R. 224 and 248, all city roads are already posted as 25 mph except for a few exceptions where the speed limit is 20 – or 15 mph.

Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter said most people pulled over for speeding in neighborhoods are those who live there, followed by their friends or service workers headed to a client’s home. If they’re not happy with the change, Carpenter warned, the council will hear from them.

“I think you're going to be answering to your own constituents,” Carpenter said. “So that's a question, a policy questions that you'll have to evaluate and say, you know, what level of enforcement do we want? Are we willing to stand behind that level of enforcement when we take the heat for it?”

Rubell says that’s the council’s job - to make decisions for the betterment of the community - and to take the flack that comes with doing so.

“Personally, I'd say I don't care,” Rubell said. “I tell him them to get a ticket. I mean, then if you do it too many times, something else will happen.”

Noting the police chief’s request for consistency, council member Ryan Dickey asked about a faster speed limit for the longer, wider Meadows Drive that he uses to get home. Robertson said that’s where the rubber hits the road.

“On Meadows Drive, it's a really long, long, local road and someone can get extremely frustrated going 15 mph on this long road to get one location,” Robertson said. “So, that's where the speed is increasing and you might get a lot of pushback on those kinds of roads where they're like, I gotta get out of town and get to my job, so that’s something we might have to take into consideration. So could be one disadvantage, just lowering everything to 15 [mph].”

What Robertson and Carpenter said they don’t want to see is the council putting something put in place and then changing it after a few months.

Tough but fair, Leslie is the woman most of Park City wakes up with every weekday morning. Leslie has been at KPCW since 1990 and her years at KPCW have given her depth and insight, guiding her as she asks local leaders and citizens the questions on everyone’s minds during the live interviews of the Local News Hour.