A school zone on Eisenhower Road near Sunflower Elementary may soon cut the speed limit by more than half.
At Monday’s city commission study session, Michael Haeffele, public works director for Ottawa, said that per municipal code, all school zones are set at 20 miles per hour.
“...We’re asking for permission to establish two school zones — one on 19th Street to 1,000 feet east of Eisenhower at 20 mile[s] an hour, and Eisenhower Road from 200 feet south of Falcon Way to 200 feet north of 19th Street at 20 miles an hour,” Haeffele told commissioners.
Blake Jorgensen, city commissioner, asked Haeffele if Eisenhower was included within Ottawa’s city limits.
“Everything north of 13th Street is not within the city limits,” Haeffele responded. “From 13 Street south to I-35 is within city limits.”
According to a public works document presented at the meeting, some communities choose to set school zone speed limits at 10 mph less than the normal speed limit. In all of the other cases in Ottawa, the roads are at 30 mph, which would make the 10 mph reduction the same as the requested 20 mph.
Eisenhower is unique, however, because its speed limit is 45 mph. Therefore, the municipal code must be amended to allow for the installation of school zone lights and reduced speed limit. The 20 mph speed limit would only be effective when the yellow school zone lights were flashing, typically 7:15 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, Haeffele said.
“After internal discussion with the city engineer, it was felt that it was appropriate to drop the rate of speed to 20 mph for consistency across the community and better safety for the children,” the public works document read.
Sunflower Elementary is bounded on three sides with roads: 19th on the north; Eisenhower on the west; and Falcon Way on the south. The other two roads have speed limits of 30 mph.
School district officials could not be reached for comment by press time Wednesday.
Commissioners will vote on the ordinance at their regular meeting 9:30 a.m. Aug. 16. Shall commissioners approve it, Haeffele said the ordinance would go into effect at the start of the school year, provided the proper signage has been installed.