Freistatt to establish 15 mile-per-hour speed limit

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

New limit set for residential streets

Following a second month of discussion, Freistatt village board trustees declared their intention of establishing a speed limit ordinance for the village for the first time, planning action in June.

In April, board members decided to explore adding, "Slow: Children at Play" signs in town. The situation escalated by May when Trustee Elmer Conway reported a relatively young man living on Fifth Street had been doing "wheelies" on his motorcycle on side streets in Freistatt. Conway reported the cyclist reached 70 miles per hour in his escapades.

Conway confronted the driver and found him unapologetic.

"He said there are no speed limit signs in town and he can do what he wants," Conway said. "We need to do something for these kids. Someone is going to get killed if we don't."

Speed limit signs on Highway H, under the control of the Missouri Department of Transportation, state "35 miles per hour" on the main route, but there are no other signs in town.

Mayor Mike Ortwein said he talked to Willie Hesemann on the Freistatt Special Road District about getting caution signs at a reduced price through the county. According to Hesemann, the county quit using such signs because he said they give a false sense of protection. The road district would put up signs if the village purchased them.

Assessing both the east and west sides of the village, transected by Highway H, trustees determined they needed eight signs, one on each street and one at either end of Washington Street.

The longer they discussed, the more adamant the trustees became. Since Trustee Brenna Schroeder said trustees could get signs with any verbiage they wanted, the board settled on "Caution, Children Playing/15 miles per hour." Trustee Eva Jobe motioned to set a 15-mile-per-hour speed limit, which passed unanimously. Conway offered to build and maintain a speed bump next to the stop sign on Washington at Fifth Street, which raised no objections from the other trustees.

Clerk Deborah Schoen said she would have an ordinance establishing the new speed limit ready for passage at the board's June 9 meeting.

Freistatt has no municipal court and sends tickets to the associate circuit court in Lawrence County for processing. The village also only has a part-time marshal who does not live inside the village borders.

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