The Andover City Council will discuss further measures to prevent speeding on Veterans Memorial Boulevard, but last week decided against installing additional speed signs.
Residents brought forward a petition Nov. 4 with approximately 35 signatures from nearby homeowners seeking to have additional speed signs installed on Veterans Memorial Boulevard.
During the discussion, city staff and members of the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office discussed some of the techniques they regularly use to control speed. At the end of the discussion, Mayor Julie Trude suggested the council will continue to discuss the issue with staff and at a work session.
Director of Public Works David Berkowitz spoke in opposition to the request for more speed limit signs.
“Although I respect the request through the petition, I personally as an engineer do not feel that those signs will be an impact, because people know what the speed is in that area and it is human behavior — what we’re dealing with,” Berkowitz said. “Adding a few signs doesn’t always change human behavior.”
The city’s policy is to post speed limit signs at the entrances of developments, off county roads and off state-aid routes, Berkowitz said.
Andover’s data suggests speeding in the area is not particularly excessive, according to Berkowitz.
A 2018 study showed about 20% of drivers were traveling over 35 mph. According to the most recent study 50% of vehicles were traveling at just under 29 mph, with the max speed recorded being 46 mph, Berkowitz said.
Berkowitz noted that some of those higher speeds may be police vehicles traveling through the area.
While Veteran’s Memorial usually has issues with speeding in the summer, there does not appear to be a major problem, according to Commander Paul Lenzmeier of the Sheriff’s Office.
“The times that we’ve sent the radar sign out there, the data that came back does not indicate that there is a significant speed problem there,” Lenzmeier said.
He said he often walks his dog on Veterans Memorial and has seen cars that appear to be driving fast on the corners, but he suspects it is a perception of speed, not reality.
Two petitioners who spoke during the meeting suggested installing something other than static speed signs, such as flashing speed signs.
The installation of flashing signs, such as the trailer and sign that the Sheriff’s Office occasionally deploys, is only effective while they are in place, according to Berkowitz.
Council Member Bukkila noted that the majority of signers of the petition live off of Veterans Memorial Boulevard. The petitioners said they knew that, but they figured because most of those neighboring developments had to use the boulevard to reach their neighborhoods they had an interest in the speeding as well.
Bukkila pointed out that installing a flashing light would have a greater impact on the residents directly on the boulevard.
“When you start talking signage and changes, those things are going to go in people’s yards,” Bukkila said. “So it’s better to have the support of the property owners that are being directly affected or would have more contact or conflict or have things put into their yard.”
Trude said she appreciated the petitioners collecting signatures and discussing the issue with their neighbors.
“The fact that you went out and talked to people, collected names and talked about the issue — that can change behavior,” Trude said. “Because it is people who live near you doing this, and they’re not connecting. They’re not looking outside their car thinking about, ‘These are may neighbors, and their kids might come darting out or run across the street backwards.’”