Mayor John Musser brought up a letter to the editor written by Natalie Faulk, Point Pleasant, W.Va., and published in the Feb. 22 edition of the Sunday Times-Sentinel. Faulk wrote: “The widespread opinion of many is that this speed change if just another effort to collect revenues in fines that will result from this change.”
Musser told council Faulk received a speeding ticket on Union Avenue last July and was cited for going 40 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone. Musser also denied the village was targeting motorists by lowering the speed limit, telling council since the beginning of the year there have been two speeding citations issued on East Main Street and nine on West Main Street.
Proffitt had previously said one reason for the change in the speed limit was an increase in traffic accidents in the downtown area. Faulk’s letter said: “I personally have no recollection in recent memory of any serious traffic accidents in the downtown area, a fender bender here or there, but certainly nothing to warrant a speed change for the safety of the townspeople.”
Proffitt told council this was totally inaccurate, adding there had in fact been two fatalities on Main Street in previous years and last week an accident between a motorcycle and a vehicle on East Main Street required the patient be transported by MedFlight to Cabell Huntington Hospital. That accident has resulted in the driver being charged in Meigs County Court with aggravated vehicular assault.
“We’re not targeting people with this,” Proffitt said of the speed limit change.
Proffitt also said his officers had been giving a lot of verbal warnings during recent traffic stops since the speed limit changed. Musser said of the speeding tickets given this year downtown, all of the drivers were cited for going at least 40 mph or more.
Last night Musser suggested council purchase a sign with flashing lights, alerting motorists of the reduced speed though council ultimately decided not to purchase the sign. Council pointed out there is already a reduced speed sign posted on East Main Street though it doesn’t have flashing lights. Council said it would give motorists more time to get used to the new speed change and then revisit the idea of the sign with flashing lights if needed.
Councilwoman Mary McAngus also pointed out the speed change was to be posted at Cherry Street but is actually posted East of that between Cleland Realty and H&R Block. Proffitt said he believed this was because sidewalks would’ve had to be torn up to place them on Cherry Street. McAngus pointed out the ordinance says the speed limit is to change at Cherry Street.