Walker residents want speed limits lowered

Posted at 6:30 PM, Sep 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-03 23:14:06-04

WALKER, Mich. -- Daryl Boonstra has lived on Kinney Avenue for 12 years.

Most of that time, he said the speed limit was 35 miles per hour.
However, it was raised to 45 mph in December 2011.

"My main concern is the safety," he said.

Boonstra added, "45's a lot harder to stop, than it is 35."

At 45 mph, he said drivers are often pushing the limit to 55 mph.
Boonstra worries about the safety of drivers, pedestrians, and residents, especially those pulling in and out of their driveways.

"I went to pull in one day and a guy passed me on the left side actually when I was turning left, and I luckily I saw him," Boonstra said.

He said he questioned the city about the increase.

Walker city engineer Scott Conners agrees and said saying officials share the same feelings as Boonstra.
However, he directed me to Public Act 85.

This state law is outlined on the city's website. It requires municipalities to recalculate speed limits based on formulas and methods that take traffic patterns and population density into consideration.

If the limits aren't recalculated, the city said a driver can contest a speeding ticket and win.
The city's website outlines the requirements.

Their website reads, in part:

"The city of Walker has taken part in several efforts to repeal or modify the new law and maintain local decision making on speed limits. Unfortunately, those efforts have failed and we are now faced with the task of updating the speeds and bringing our limits into compliance with current law."

The city goes on to say that the new law was co-authored by the Michigan State Police to increase safety and limit speed traps.

Boonstra said he doesn't mind speedtraps.

"No, no not all. If they write a ticket for speeding, generally, you're speeding. But ya know, Walker does write a lot of tickets," he said.

Boonstra said, "Somebody's going to lose their life along the way here one of these days because of this speed increase. I hope it doesn't happen, but I would not be surprised if it did."

FOX 17 spoke with Michigan State Police Lieutenant
Gary Megge with the Traffic Services Division.

He said he's assisted on about 400 traffic studies, and it all comes down to law, science, and engineering.
Megge said he has not seen an increase accidents because of the increased speed limits.
However, he said if there are adverse results on a particular road, state police would be open to change.

FOX 17 also left messages with local lawmakers about the issue.