The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

August 19, 2013

MAPC requests no change in 45 mph speed limit

By Dale Denwalt, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — A panel of city and county officials wants the city to pass on lowering the speed limit in front of Enid’s newest elementary school.

The Metropolitan Area Planning Commission has recommended that the city reject a plan to keep cars at or below 35 mph as they drive past Prairie View Elementary School. The speed limit in the school zone currently is 45 mph and significantly drops during school hours.

The request from Enid Public Schools was to stagger the transition better so that during school hours, drivers aren’t jolted by the sudden decrease in the speed limit.

“Their thought was, currently, the speed limit is 45, except during school hours,” Planning Administrator Chris Bauer said during Monday’s meeting. “They would like to see that transition be slower, from 45 to 20, to 35 to 20.”

Permanent change

If approved, the request would permanently keep traffic slower on Willow between Oakwood and Garland. MAPC voted to recommend keeping the speed limit where it is, but the Enid City Commission has final approval in their meeting this evening.

City Commissioner David Vanhooser said he conducted a straw poll Monday and did not find anyone in favor of the speed limit reduction.

“When you look at the time constraints school’s in, and how much of the day, we’re paying a big price all the time to reduce it 10 miles per hour when there hasn’t been any problems, and when only half of it’s developed,” he said. “I don’t think there’s going to be much support for it.”

He added that the section of Willow is “a horrible strip” because there are no sidewalks.

“We’re going to four-lane it eventually, but this is not the solution to the problem. We’re going to have to address it in a better fashion than that,” he said.

Planning commission member Cole Ream suggested that a police officer could visit the area to remind drivers of the school zone.

“We still have a sparsely-populated area west of the school, and we’ve had no concrete issues or complaints brought before us as of yet. If it changes, we can revisit that,” he said.

Plans approved

The planning commission also approved a site development plan for Xpress Wellness Urgent Care. The health care facility will be built on the lot formerly occupied by MotoPhoto, located at 220 S. Van Buren.

Commissioners then approved a request from Magellan Pipeline to build a structure on its property at 4701 E. Willow. The location currently houses a tank farm.

“They’re building a small building in this area,” Bauer said, pointing to a layout of the plan on a projector. “It is a quality control testing building. There will be appropriate parking that’s accessible.”

Commission member Cody Haney noted that there already is dirt work occurring at that location.

“They got a permit from the engineering department, so, yes, they are,” Bauer replied.

A final plat was approved for Heathstone Farms Addition, located between Oakwood and Garland south of Van Buren. Bauer told the commission that the water utilities, roads and sidewalks already were built, and that all that remains for the housing project is an extension of sewer service.

The panel also granted a request from Rauh Oilfield Services to construct an 8,500-square-foot building for semi and trailer sales. The building will be located at 1622 Oklahoma 132.