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New Speed Zone Adopted For Area Around Southeast High School

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Sedgwick County is establishing a new lower speed zone for a major road used to access the new Southeast High School.

Traffic along 127th Street East, between Wichita city limits and 31st Street south, will now be 40 miles per hour, instead of 55.

County Commission Chairman Jim Howell says the change is needed for safety reasons.

"People are leaving the school and they’re traveling 55 miles an hour as they leave the parking lot. It’s only a half-mile from there to 31st [Street] South," Howell says. "I’ve driven that a number of times and I feel that the speed is excessively high, and I’m concerned about the safety of the students who are in that school."

The northern half-mile of 127th Street near the school is already 40 miles per hour, so the change makes the entire stretch the same speed limit.

The commissioners unanimously approved the resolution at a special meeting on Monday.

Howell pushed for a vote on the resolution to lower the speed limit, even though it was not on the commission’s agenda. He said there was no reason to wait until the commission’s next meeting on Nov. 30 to take action.

Howell says they’ve made other safety improvements to the traffic patterns in the area, such as changing two-way stops to four-way stops at intersections and enlarging the stop signs.

Sedgwick County Public Works Director David Spears says no engineering study was completed on the 127th Street proposal. He says reducing the speed on that stretch of 127th Street doesn’t bother him.

He reminded the commissioners that other schools in Sedgwick County, such as Eisenhower High School, near Goddard, have roads with 55 miles per hour speed limits near schools.

The change to 127th Street East comes in District 5, the district Commissioner Howell represents.

The new high school opened at the end of August. It has more than 1,500 students.


Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

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