May 13, 2014 | 01:14 PMBLOOMFIELD — The village board wants traffic to move slower through the Pell Lake subdivision on Highway H, but whether the 50 mph zone is reduced to 40 mph is up to Walworth County officials.
On May 5, the board adopted a resolution that urges the county to lower the speed limit “approaching and through Pell Lake subdivision from both directions” on Highway H.
On the phone May 6, village president Ken Monroe said he has received numerous complaints about the 50 mph zone, where there are more than 20 homes and two businesses.
“We all know, if it’s 50 mph, they’re doing 60,” he said.
In a May 6 email, trustee William Holder, who made the motion to adopt the resolution, said it is a residential area and he would like to see the limit even lower than 40 mph.
“When you drive throughout the county — Linton, Como and LaGrange come to mind — the speeds (have been) lowered at least to 45,” Holder said in a May 6 email. “I feel it is just something that should be addressed before we have an incident.”
The board unanimously approved the resolution.
In a May 6 email, trustee Susan Bernstein said the Public Works, Safety and Utility Committee recommended lowering the limit to 40 mph. “I was comfortable with their recommendation,” she said in response to the question of why she supported lowering the limit.
Other trustees were asked that question.
Trustee Gary Grolle did not answer. He said May 5 was his first meeting with the new board since being elected in April.
Trustee Ken Bauman did not respond by press time.
Why it’s in county’s hands
County Highway H used to be State Highway 12.
In the 1960s, the state moved Highway 12 west of the lake. “Old 12,” as it used to be known, became County Highway H.
Monroe believes the Pell Lake section of the road may have been lowered to 50 mph after 12 became H. “It could have been even, at that time, 65 mph, like a lot of state highways were.”
Now, the next step is for Walworth County officials to approve the change.
“The (county’s) safety committee would probably have a hearing,” Monroe said. “They’ll do a check on the road. They might do a (traffic) count. Then, it may go to the county’s public works committee, and then to the full (county) board.”
In a May 8 email, Bloomfield Police Chief Steve Cole said, to his knowledge, there has been no traffic data collection in the 50 mph zone of Highway H. Is Monroe, who is also a county supervisor, optimistic that the county will OK dropping the speed limit down to 40 mph? “We’re asking for 40 mph, but I doubt we’ll get 40. We might get 45,” he said.
He said seldom will the county reduce a speed limit by more than 5 mph. “Usually, not 10. … but we’d like to have it 40.”
Monroe said the limit should be dropped, even if people have a tendency to drive faster than the limit.
“I think, once they see (the sign) changed, there would still be an awareness that they should be going slower through there.”