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Council hopes to slow traffic down - one street at a time

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

One street at a time, New Castle City Council members hope to slow traffic down in congested parts of town.

Monday night, council members began that task with first-reading passage of Ordinance No. 3801, amending city code to establish new speed limits on certain streets.

Council members’ immediate focus is on North 17th Street, a place where vehicles are parked on both sides.

“It is pretty tight,” Councilman Jerry Walden said. “There is a ‘Child At Play’ warning sign on the north end right off of Woodward Avenue. It’s up pretty high, which I think it needs to be because of the parking there. My only concern is we get the speed limit signs up that high if we decided to go that route. It is needed. It’s a busy street.”

The ordinance would reduce speed limits there from 30 to 20 miles per hour.

Councilman Lynn Perdue said he understood the concern, but wondered about other streets in town as well.

“We have that all over town,” Perdue said of the cars parked on both side of the street. “So do we address this one at a time or do we make this city-wide? Audubon, between Main and Bundy, they park on both sides of the street there, and it’s almost impassable at times. Cherry Street is the same way.”

City Attorney David Copenhaver advised a “one-street-at-a-time” approach is best.

“Carmel passed an ordinance that reduced their speeds city-wide by a little bit over what the state law says,” Copenhaver said. “State law for residential neighborhoods is 30 mph. Because they did it city wide, the Supreme Court threw it out. So what I think what you need to do is make a fact-finding on the street and that we do it one street at a time. I think that is the best way to do it.”

Councilman Rex Peckinpaugh said residents in the ward he represents brought the North 17th Street issue to his attention. Councilman Aaron Dicken said the change should not adversely affect anyone.

“It’s not a true thoroughfare,” Dicken said. “It’s going to be mostly people living there.”

First reading of the ordinance passed 6-0 with one abstention, that coming from Mary Brewington.

In other business:

• Tires are being picked up at the old Firestone site. Mayor Greg York said the process started Monday and that it would “probably take a week to two weeks to get it done. There’s a lot more there than what I anticipated.”

• Approved authorization of an ordinance to vacate an alley located immediately east of 310 N. 19th St. and 904 Spring St., and immediately west of 908 Spring St. A public hearing on the matter will be scheduled at the first city council meeting in January.