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40 mph speed limit recommended on Mullan between Broadway, Reserve

By Kevin Maki, KECI Reporter, kmaki@keci.com
Published On: Oct 08 2013 05:51:08 PM MDT
Updated On: Oct 08 2013 06:37:52 PM MDT

The city engineer's recommending a 40 mile an hour zone after a traffic and speed study.

MISSOULA, Mont. -

In July, the transportation commission set a temporary 35 mile per hour speed limit on a part of Mullan Road that used to see 45 mile per hour signs.

A traffic and speed conduct were conducted. Now a city traffic engineer has recommended a 40 mile an hour zone.

Gabrielle Rosier was walking with her boyfriend, Chance Geery, when a woman drove onto the sidewalk they strolled on, killing Geery, a Hellgate senior. Investigators said the woman wasn't speeding. But Rosier said had the driver been going slower, Chance might still be alive.

"I feel like 35 is definitely reasonable," said Rosier. "Watching people go by sitting on my porch is comfortable because that's a fast speed limit and accidents happen here all the time."

NBC Montana looked at the traffic study that examined traffic accidents on Mullan between Broadway and Reserve. It said the crash rate is actually low on this segment compared to other similar roads. Although it said that doesn't mean there aren't specific issues or problems that need to be addressed.

Kevin Slovarp said most people on Mullan travel below 41 miles an hour with an average speed of 36 to 37 miles an hour. He recommends a 40 mile an hour speed limit.

"You want everybody driving about the same pace," said Slovarp. "If you get anybody driving too slow and somebody driving too fast, you have a recipe for more accidents to happen."

A stretch of Rattlesnake Drive between Cornerstone and Aspen used to be 45 miles an hour too. Like Mullan, officials set a temporary enforceable 35 mile an hour zone there in July.

"Turns out most people on this stretch don't feel comfortable going much over 39-and-a-half miles per hour with an average speed of 33 miles an hour."

The city's recommendation is to keep the 35 mile an hour zone. There are no curbs or gutters, sidewalks, little shoulder and no bike lane.

The city public works committee will take up the proposed speed changes in Missoula in about a week.

The council will review it and make its recommendation to the state's transportation commission.