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Aldermen approve radar signs for Ohio Street

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March 17, 2015 10:00 pm

RACINE — Radar-enabled speed limit signs will soon be making an appearance on a stretch of Ohio Street near Lockwood Park.

After more than six months of debate over whether to spend $8,000 on a traffic study to address a reported speeding problem on the roadway, aldermen voted 13-2 to back a recommendation from the Finance and Personnel Committee to forgo the traffic study and instead spend the money on two $4,000 speed limit signs able to record the speeds of passing motorists.

The signs — called radar detection speed feedback signs — look like regular speed limit signs but have a screen underneath the posted speed limit showing the speed of motorists traveling past.

The proposal for the signs reportedly came out of a discussion Mayor John Dickert, 12th District Alderman Henry Perez, and Public Works Commissioner Mark Yehlen had following the City Council’s last vote on the traffic study proposal.

The solar-powered signs would be placed on Ohio Street initially, but could be moved to another roadway in the city in the future.

During the City Council’s debate on the issue, Alderman Sandy Weidner, who along with Alderman Dennis Wiser, voted against purchasing the signs, stated that taking $8,000 out of the city’s capital improvement funds “was not a panacea” for addressing resident traffic concerns.

“At some point we are not going to be able to continue to borrow for items such as this,” Weidner said.

Perez first proposed a traffic study of the roadway in July. His primary concern, he said, was the safety of constituents who had complained of nearly being struck by cars while crossing Ohio Street.

Traffic studies conducted by police and the city’s Traffic Engineering Department confirmed that motorists indeed exceed the 30 mph posted speed limit, but the question of whether anything could or should be done about that speeding was the subject of several debates at three different committees, as well as the City Council.

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