Whooaa! City brakes traffic downtown
Motorists on Andy Devine Avenue will have to slow down a little now that the city of Kingman has decreased the speed limit from 35 to 25 mph from 1st Street to 8th Street.
The Public Works Department began installing new speed limit signs Tuesday to inform the drivers of the change.
"The traffic coming out the Powerhouse (Visitor's Center) and downtown businesses find it hard to navigate oncoming traffic.
Bringing the speed down a little makes sense," City Manager Roger Swenson said.
"It is not going to add many minutes to a person's trip."
But some city residents said it makes no sense to set the speed limit so low.
"I don't understand what made the change necessary," said Rosanne Rosenberg, who works in the area.
"I think the speed limit was set too low."
Kingman resident Ed Edwards said he thinks the speed limit along Andy Devine Avenue should be set at 40 mph.
Kim Stewart, who works in the downtown area, said she is surprised at the change.
"I don't think it needs to be that low," Stewart said.
"I think they may have done it because there is a lot more foot traffic and to slow people down in the historic district."
However, Stewart said she usually takes Andy Devine Avenue as a way to avoid the downtown area along Beale Street.
The streets are parallel.
The city has been considering what to do to slow traffic down in that area for some time.
In the western end of downtown, Andy Devine Avenue narrows to one lane in each direction.
Route 66 curves to the south while Andy Devine Avenue curves north to connect with Beale Street, which takes traffic to Interstate 40.
"That area going west on Route 66 narrows to one lane (near the Powerhouse) and there have been concerns regarding traffic from the Powerhouse getting on to Andy Devine Avenue," Swenson said.
"There is no place to put in a controlled-traffic signal there."
Concerns over the "blind corner" where Andy Devine Avenue curves, coupled with complaints from area businesses that traffic was moving too quickly through the area, prompted Swenson and other city officials to discuss a remedy to the situation.
Swenson said city planning and zoning officials along with the fire and police chiefs discussed a number of proposals to achieve traffic safety in the area before reducing the speed limit.
The Kingman Police Department implemented the change and the Public Works Department made the appropriate speed limit signs, Swenson said.
"The speed was lowered to mitigate the possibility of an accident in that area," he added.
Andy Devine Avenue, a four-mile road between Grandview Avenue downtown and Michael Street near the east I-40 interchange, was once managed and maintained by the Arizona Department of Transportation as part of Route 66.
However, the state gave control of the road back to the city about a year and a half ago as part of a statewide turn-back program, Swenson said.
Kingman is now responsible for that stretch of road, including paving, maintenance and traffic control.