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Riverside board mulls putting the breaks on park zone speed limit ordinance

RIVERSIDE – The Riverside Board of Trustees discussed several possible avenues it could take to limit speeding on streets near parks at their regular meeting on Thursday.

At the heart of the discussion was an ordinance passed by the board in 2006 that would drop the speed limit on streets near parks from the village-wide 25 mph to 20 mph. Although the board passed the ordinance, it never went into effect because signs alerting drivers to the decreased limit were never installed.

Police Chief Tom Weitzel told trustees that he came across the ordinance while research speed ordinances for targeting by officers in part because of resident's request that the village's speed limits be better enforced.

Whether or not the village should go forward with installation of the required signs, which would be necessary for police to enforce the speed limit, was originally planned to voted on at the board's next meeting. However, due to numerous questions brought up by trustees, it was decided the board would wait to address the issue until further study by the police and public works departments could be completed.

Installing the signs would cost the village an estimated $6,000 for the approximately 80 signs that would need to be purchased. The signs would both alert drivers as they approached a park zone and would display the adjusted speed limit, similar to a school zone sign, when drivers were in the zone. The signs would be in effect anytime there was public activity at a park, but not at night when parks are closed, unless there was an event in progress.

Concerned by the amount of traffic signs already in the village, trustees discussed several ways the village could protect residents near parks and be the more effective.

Trustee Doug Pollock said, in the end, a five mph difference in speed wasn't much, and that he considered 25 mph to be a safe speed, which is already in effect across the village.

Trustees recommend further study of the issue before voting, but asked the police department to examine whether school zones could be extended in several areas of the village, ultimately continuing the 20-mph speed limits into park areas. Trustees also suggested that simply better enforcement of the 25-mph limit in park areas could also be a solution.

The board asked residents to share their thoughts with the village while the issue is being considered.

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