Board considers new speed limit

Published 10:55 am Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Lowering the speed limit in an area of Southampton middle and high schools was among the topics for discussion by the county school board on Monday evening. Ricky Blount, director of transportation for the school division, reported the results of a study performed by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Blount said that based on the research performed by Traffic Engineering, it was recommended the establishment of a school zone speed limit of 50 mph for a distance of 0.2 mile centered on the Route 58 entrance to the school complex.

Although the posted speed is already 60 mph in that area, Blount reported the average speed of vehicles during school arrival and dismissal is figured at 70 to 73 mph.

Looking at the record of crashes that took place with 0.25 miles of the entrance in the past three years, though, the study found there had only been one, and that was not at the ingress to SHS.

To establish the signs and beacons to post the speed reduction would cost anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000, and the cost must be supported by the school board.

Dr. Carolyn Modlin, board member, said, “That’s a very small amount of money if it saves a life.”

Dr. Deborah Goodwyn, chairwoman of the board, recommended approval of the plan pending the identification of funding. This was agreed on by the other board members present.

Afterward, the board also got a preview of options for what could be done to improve the ingress and egress at Riverdale Elementary School. Blount presented three ideas, after which the matter was placed on the agenda to be fully explored during the meeting on Monday, June 11.