MONTICELLO — Drivers will need to slow down on Monticello’s main roadways if a proposal by city officials is adopted by the city council.
It would include lower speed limits on portions of Illinois 105/Market Street, Bridge/Center Street and Washington Street. It could also reduce the speed limit from 45 to 35 mph beginning at the Trail Blazers rodeo grounds on East Old Illinois 47.
City Administrator Terry Summers said requests for lower speed limits in that area had been made by Walden Pond residents, as well as representatives of Kirby Medical Center and the Piatt County Forest Preserve District. With more housing and the hospital located in that area, Mayor Larry Stoner believes an adjustment may be needed.
“There seems to be a lot more traffic out there now than it used to be. It’s a little bit dangerous pulling out of the hospital entrance,” Stoner said. “Sometimes, you just can’t see what’s coming, and it comes fast.”
Alderman Rodney Burris, who drives a local school bus, agrees traffic has increased.
“There is a lot more bicycle traffic, walking traffic and people don’t understand where off the road is,” he said. “Slowing it down’s probably going to be a smart thing to do.”
The city also proposed a further reduction to 30 mph on North Market Street as it proceeds into town, but aldermen felt it would be better to keep it at a consistent 35 mph, especially since the Lincoln Elementary School speed zone will no longer be needed. The school will not house students beginning this fall.
It isn’t the first time the city has attempted to slow things down. A request made to the Illinois Department of Transportation several years ago to reduce the speed limit on the Interstate 72 overpass was turned down.
Officially, that means the city can lower the limit on either side of the overpass, with the stretch under IDOT jurisdiction remaining at 50 mph. But Summers hopes it will push the state to change its mind if the city takes action first on roadways around the overpass.
“I would reach out to IDOT, (tell them) this is our jurisdiction; this is what we want to do, and would you guys be interested in lowering it to 40?” Summers said. “I would communicate that with them before I brought an ordinance to you.
“This would definitely be a multi- agency effort,” Summers said.
The council will officially consider the speed-limit changes at a future meeting.