Marion council votes to lower speed limit in residential areas

It?s time for drivers in Marion to slow down.

Prompted by complaints from citizens about speeding in residential areas, the Marion City Council, at its Sept. 14 meeting, approved lowering the speed limits from 30 mph to 20 mph.

Mayor Todd Heitschmidt was pleased with the change.

?Ninety percent of the problem is being addressed (with this ordinance),? he said.

The new speed limit will affect South Roosevelt, South Freeborn, South Coble, Melvin, Maple and Welch, according to the ordinance.

The speed change will start at the intersection of:

? Roosevelt and Melvin;

? Freeborn and Maple, east to the intersection of Maple and Coble;

? north to the intersection of Coble and Welsh;

? west to the intersection of Roosevelt and Welsh streets;

? south to the intersection of Roosevelt and Mel?vin.

The ordinance will affect all traffic within those designated boundaries.

The three council members who were present approved the ordinance. Councilors Melissa Mermis and Jerry Kline were absent.

Researching problem

City Administrator Roger Holter said the safety of children on the south hill was discussed at the June 22 meeting.

Following up on those concerns, the police department came up with three options along with its recommendation for a citywide speed reduction to 20 mph? except on Eisenhower, Cedar north of Kellison and the east and west ends of Main Street.

At that time, the council authorized the police to set up temporary stop signs in appropriate locations to modify traffic behavior.

Runway expansion

Lengthening the runway at Marion Municipal Air?port could be a future goal, but Holter said he wants to know if the council would like him gather more information.

The county is already served by LifeTeam helicopters, but Holter said planes can fly longer distances and in more risky conditions.

?KDOT?Aviation has a goal of having 100 percent access to Emergency Medi?cal Flight Service within 30 miles in all parts of rural Kansas,? he said.

Marion?s airport falls in the middle of one of these areas (black zones) of absence to EagleMed flights, Holter added. For operational safety to support EagleMed planes, the runway would need to be at least 60 feet wide by 4,200 feet .

Holter said the runway currently is 40-feet wide by 2,573 feet long.

?Acquisition of land to the south would allow for the lengthening of the runway, but to the north would fall short of the desired length,? he said.

It might be less expensive to go with a new longer runway, but Holter said that would require land acquisitions from private owners.

The cost of a longer runway would be between $250,000 and $350,000, but the Kansas Department of Trans?portation aviation division would contribute 10 percent.

?Even if this costs us $350,000, if we?re able to save one life because we?re able to bring a plane in here, I think that is an excellent investment of our taxpayer dollars,? Heitschmidt said.

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