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Residents unhappy with new Staring Lane speed limit

6 years 8 months 13 hours ago Monday, July 03 2017 Jul 3, 2017 July 03, 2017 6:43 PM July 03, 2017 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE – The newly resurfaced and widened Staring Lane will get a newer, higher speed limit on July 10.

The City-Parish Traffic Engineering Department first issued a release saying the speed limit would be posted to 45 MPH, but made a compromise after some residents showed concern to Metro Council member Barbara Freiberg.

"The more we looked at it, the more we thought no, 40 sounds more appropriate," said Chief Traffic Engineer Ingolf Partenheimer.

In May, Freiberg said she heard from constituents who complained about the speed limit being too low along Staring Lane. She moved to remove a provision from an ordinance so the speed limit could be changed.

"That doesn't mean it won't be 35 but it does mean that it's not an ordinance that it has to be," Freiberg said during the May 10 Metro Council meeting.

In 2014, the speed limit was lowered after people complained that 40 mph was too fast. It's currently at 35 mph.

The speed limit went from 35 to 40 after the construction project widened Staring. But, after complaints an ordinance was changed and the speed limit dropped to 35 again.

In previous WBRZ reports, people who live along the street complained drivers drive too fast down the street. 

"Nobody's going 35 right now, it's 45 on average," said Justin Simon. "If you stayed here one night, you'd understand why 35 is sufficient."

Sunday, some residents along Staring Lane were busy doing yard work. Word about the speed limit change has quickly spread and many of those residents are not happy.

"They got a lot of kids that ride bikes around here, so it's just an accident waiting to happen," said Simon.

The City-Parish Traffic Engineering Department says Staring lane was designed as a major arterial, similar to Airline Highway. A study was performed on the road prior to it reopening in 2014 and found the road was prepared for a speed limit of 50 mph.

Chris LaCaze owns a home feet from Staring Lane. He feared this day would come.

"The near-misses in this intersection alone have scared me to death when I hear the horn and I hear the brakes," he said.

An SUV flipped over and landed in his driveway in 2014. It was feet away from hitting his home. From time to time, LaCaze says rocks spring from tires and hit the windows near the front of his home.

"These cars jockey like they're on a racetrack," he said. 

With the speed limit change, LaCaze fears it'll only get worse. While he knows many drivers are for this speed limit change, he says no one bothered to ask the people who have lived along that stretch of road for decades.

"It seems like nobody has any consideration for anyone who lives here," he said. "It's 'I'll speed through your neighborhood, just don't speed through mine.'"

The signs will be changed to mark the new posted speed of 40 MPH Monday, July 10.

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