PORT WASHINGTON - Drivers on Highway 32 in Port Washington may soon have to let up a little on the gas pedal with the city requesting the speed limit drop from 55 to 45 mph.
The city is putting in the request to the Department of Transportation following a petition from the residents of the Misty Ridge subdivision. Currently, the speed limit changes from 45 to 55 mph at the top of a hill northeast of the subdivision entrance.
If the DOT agrees, the speed limit increase would be moved to a point south of the subdivision, lengthening the 45 mph section.
During public comment at the city’s common council meeting Aug. 1, a few neighbors expressed their reasoning for the request — one of the main reasons mentioned was how drivers speed toward the freeway down the hill making for a dangerous situation when leaving the subdivision.
Alderman Doug Biggs has lived in the neighborhood for about 11 years and said he's noticed traffic on Highway 32 has increased over time.
“This is a good thing, it means more people are coming to Port Washington,” he said.
However, Biggs acknowledged that with this traffic increase it is hard to turn onto Highway 32 from the Misty Ridge subdivision. He said the entrance to the subdivision is somewhat hidden, which also makes exiting the subdivision potentially dangerous, especially with the nearby hill.
“They are blasting down that hill coming southbound,” Biggs said.
Police Chief Kevin Hingiss said there is no history of accidents along that stretch but said he doesn’t have a problem with the speed limit change.
He said police do run radar on that section of road and also have a location for a traffic sign that informs drivers of their speed. But he said the sign rotates around the community so it’s not always there.
Alderman Dave Larson said he's fine with reducing the speed, saying the suggestion was previously brought up a few years ago. He said turning left out of the subdivision can be a challenge, especially in rain or snow.
Biggs said he was excited the neighbors got together and pulled the petition together with almost unanimous support.
“Getting 100 families to agree to anything is a pretty daunting thing,” Biggs said.
The city’s traffic safety commission also voted unanimously in favor of the change.