Why is a lower limit such an issue?

Published 10:14 am Friday, August 4, 2017

For months we’ve reported about the efforts of many Southampton County residents asking — pleading, really — for a reduction of speed from 55 mph to 45 mph in the business corridor on Route 58 between Jerusalem and Story Station roads, located in the vicinity of Courtland. Those concerned about safety and business, in that order, have even gone so far as to get petitions signed.

Out of that came a speed and traffic study, the result of which was boiled down to the VDOT representative recently saying the agency’s District Traffic Engineer does not recommend lowering the speed limit from 55 mph to 45 mph. But, there can and will be warning lights installed within a month, notifying drivers that there is a stoplight ahead.

Then there’s the idea of installing cameras that would photograph license plates of people who run red lights. That would certainly bring in some income to the county, which eventually could be used to hire deputies to enforce whatever speed limit is posted.

But will all that really address the residents’ genuine concerns?

During the presentation, supervisor Dr. Alan Edwards made the best point in asking what possible harm would be done by reducing the speed. To which the representative replied that the study is “based solely on engineering,” but he would ask.

The question that we and everyone else are asking is why is the request for a lower speed limit really such a problem for the Virginia Department of Transportation?

We look forward to the engineer’s response.