Concerns over the speed limit on a Columbus street sparked conversation at the Columbus City Council meeting on May 13. Several Columbus residents spoke during public forum regarding concerns over the 55 mph speed limit on Furnam Street Northeast.
“I live on Furnam Street and there’s currently a lot of building going on. There are a lot of trucks going up and down the road at high speeds, and more pedestrians are using the road,” Kathy Skoglund said. “It’s getting frustrating because I don’t understand why 55 [mph] is the speed limit if it’s not marked and people go 55, and some of it is a dirt road.”
Skoglund asked how the city could go about getting the speed limit reduced and if there would have to be a speed study on the road to get the speed limit down.
“The state statute basically establishes speed limits for our rural and residential districts,” Columbus City Engineer Kevin Bittner said. “Without any signage, it automatically defaults to 55 mph. The state statute also allows some provisions for the city to adjust that speed limit without a study, but Furnam Street would probably not qualify for that action, because it’s based on a density of housing. Essentially, it has to average spacing of housing of 300 feet or at least a quarter of a mile.”
Bittner explained that the city could contact the Minnesota State Highway Department to conduct a speed study on the road to readjust the speed limit.
“There could be a request made to the state for that, but I wouldn’t anticipate a quick turnaround, because I think they get a quite few of those type of requests,” Bittner said. “When we would get a response would be anybody’s guess. I haven’t really checked into that at this point.”
Skoglund asked how Howard Lake Drive got the speed limit reduced on their road.
“They did do a study down there and did all of the measurements. It did meet the qualifications to lower the speed limit,” Councilor Jeff Duraine said. “I think the state did give local jurisdiction or authority to lower the speed limit. I’d like to look into that a little more.”
Bittner said he would research the issue and bring his findings to the next council meeting in two weeks. Also, he will have the city attorney review the information.
Sandra Chaussee and Susan Brannon, who also live on Furnam Street, spoke to the council expressing their concern of the 55 mph speed limit and said they also want it reduced.
“It hasn’t become a problem, since no one has gotten hurt yet,” Brannon said. “Like Kathy said, there’s a lot of pedestrian traffic. Just a lot of people walking, riding their bikes, and walking their dogs. It’s definitely a concern of mine as well.”