The Beaufort Board of Commissioners voted unanimously last week to drop the speed limit on portions of Turner and Cedar streets from 35 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour.
The changes would apply to Turner Street between the south end of the Turner Street Bridge through the Cedar Street intersection, and to the length of Cedar Street from Moore Street to Live Oak Street.
However, these portions of Turner and Cedar are not under the management of the Town of Beaufort; they are still maintained by the NC Dept. of Transportation, which must agree and approve of the request before changes are made.
The issue was raised by the owners of The Inn on Turner and a Turner Street resident who said the 35 mph limit on Turner was dangerous considering the number of pedestrians in the area. Currently, Turner Street is 35 mph from the Hwy 70 intersection to the Cedar Street intersection, then drops to 25 mph.
“We see DAILY cars flying down Turner Street WELL beyond the 25 mph stated speed limit,” Inn on Turner owners Kim Bell and Jonathan Hass wrote in an email to the town Oct. 21.
“This is a danger to our neighborhood residents as we walk and bike, those visiting our town as they explore unfamiliar streets and those attending court each day at the courthouse.”
After some discussion, the Board fell into agreement that the speed limit should be dropped on Turner, then raised the issue of Cedar Street’s 35 mph speed limit.
Mayor Rett Newton asked Police Chief Paul Burdette what his thoughts were on lowering the limit.
“Slower is better, especially considering the growth we’re going to see along the Cedar Street corridor,” Burdette said.
Commissioner McDonald reiterated that point, citing the amount of pedestrian traffic in the area due to courthouse activities and the farmers market
“I’d rather see it [a lower speed limit] causing a problem today than going to a funeral tomorrow,” he said. “It needs to be slowed down.”