Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Is Bellevue?s expanded 25 mph zone too much?

Speed limit adjustment gets state lawmaker?s attention

Express Staff Writer

Wendy Jaquet

Idaho House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, warned the Bellevue Council Sept. 27 that its new ordinance slowing the speed along the entirety of state Highway 75 within the city limits to 25 miles per hour could jeopardize a law that allows cities to determine their own speed limits, rather than having them set by the Idaho Department of Transportation.

At the Bellevue council meeting on Thursday, Sept. 27, Jaquet said that the speed limit was unreasonably low on the north and south ends of town, and that opponents could use this as an example of why the state bill should be repealed.

In fact, in the winter of 2003, Rep. Leon Smith, R-Twin Falls, pushed a bill in the Idaho Legislature with the express purpose of removing all Idaho cities' rights to set their own speed limits. The bill was in response, specifically, to Bellevue's 25 mph speed limit.

While council members agreed that perhaps the limit could be raised to 35 mph north of Atkinson's Valley Market, they pointed out that there was a lot of support from residents for the reduction as a safety measure, and it's not in place to inconvenience commuters or tourists.

Mayor Jon Anderson asked that the issue be placed on a future council agenda to discuss if the speed should be raised on some sections of the highway.

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