The speed limit around Rim Country Middle School and Payson High School will increase to 25 miles per hour.
At its Sept. 12 meeting, the town council voted 3-1 to raise the limit, which has been posted at 15 mph during school hours since the late 1990s.
The increase was protested by two parents, Tim Fruth, who lives on Longhorn, and with his children, walks to the schools; and Eileen Daniels, who drives her children to the schools. It was supported by two other residents who travel the roads around the schools on a regular basis. Fruth said he and his children often have difficulty crossing their street because of the volume of speeding traffic before and after school hours. He said 25 mph would be acceptable if either speed humps or photo radar were used to ensure drivers were going 25 mph.
In the staff reports submitted to the council for considering the increase, neither the Public Works Department nor the Payson Police Department supported the move.
Arguing for the increase, it was pointed out that very few people traveling in the vicinity of the school actually go only 15 mph. The police department report indicated the same and Chief Gordon Gartner said he does not have the manpower to place patrols on regular duty at the roads around the schools to enforce the 15 mph limit.
Vice Mayor Barbara Brewer, who also lives in the vicinity of the schools, supported the increase, but also suggested the staff look into using flashing lights to warn of the school zone and possibly installing speed humps.
Public Works Engineer LaRon Garrett said only certain kinds of streets meet the requirements for speed humps and Longhorn is not one of them because it serves as a collector road for traffic.
Councilor Bryan Sieverson supported the increase, but wanted the research done on the flashing lights and other traffic control remedies before taking action to change the speed limit. His was the only dissenting vote.
Mayor Ken Murphy, Vice Mayor Barbara Brewer and Councilor Robert Henley voted to make the increase and get the information on control devices later. Councilors Judy Buettner, Dick Reese and Dick Wolfe were absent.