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Halifax tired of being in fast lane

Halifax Town Council gave the go-ahead Tuesday night for the town to formally request VDOT to lower the speed limit on a portion of Mountain Road. Current Affairs Chairman Jack Dunavant addressed lowering the speed limit from 35 to 25 mph on the portion of Mountain Road from Canterbury Drive to Ball Park Loop.

Mountain Road resident Sarah Epps spoke to council at its July meeting on the need for a lower speed limit on that section of Mountain Road.

“The sidewalk goes from the courthouse up Mountain Road almost to Ball Park Loop Road,” she told council, adding, “I spend a lot of time on the sidewalks riding bikes and walking with my family as do many other people.”

She said that almost every time she is on the sidewalk, she is “shocked at the negligence of motorists who are speeding or distracted.

“Cars run out of the road constantly, and log trucks have spilled their loads from excessive speeding in this area. If a speed limit says 35, then the motorist thinks he can go 40 or more, and in this neighborhood with the sidewalks, that can be very dangerous,” she continued.

Epps explained to council in some places the sidewalk actually touches the road with no grass buffer or curbing between a person walking or a child riding a bike “just inches from traffic.”

The Mountain Road resident said many people of all ages walk, jog or ride bikes in this neighborhood with some people driving from other neighborhoods “just to enjoy these beautiful sidewalks.”

However, Epps said she and many of her neighbors agree the situation is getting “increasingly dangerous.”

Town Manager Carl Espy said he spoke to VDOT Halifax Residency Administrator Joe Barkley about the matter, who told him to have council put the item on the agenda to request VDOT to make a study to have the speed limit on that specific area reduced.

Council voted unanimously in its meeting to send the request to VDOT.

In other business, council approved a VDOT surety resolution for certain public works and public utilities projects within highway systems. The town grants assurances to VDOT that it will comply with all the conditions of any permit that has or will be granted to the town. The town further certifies that it will carry liability insurance for personal injury and property damage that may arise from work performed under the permit.

Dunavant discussed changing the town’s municipal election date from May 2010 to Nov. 2012. Espy said town staff would begin the process and schedule a public hearing.

Espy updated council on the Banister River Gateway Project, saying VDOT would review the proposal by Wiley and Wilson and Hill Studio, the firms chosen by the selection committee to do the work for the gateway project.

The town manager also updated council on the Halifax Downtown Revitalization and Telecommunications Project. Espy said they are preparing to send out additional easement requests.  He explained three remain from the first round that need to be secured, and the plans will be submitted to VDOT for approval when they are in place.