Eureka Springs council considers speeding deterrents

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The Eureka Springs City Council spent much of its meeting May 24 discussing the speeding problem in the city.

During public comments, the council heard from residents Jack Byrne, Sam Dudley and Beau Satori about their concerns. Byrne said his house was hit by a speeding car six years ago and Dudley said he worries about his wife when she walks the dog. Satori said speeding has always been a problem and suggested lowering the speed limits to 9 miles per hour downtown.

Council member Harry Meyer said there are no sidewalks on East Mountain where speeding typically occurs and council member Bill Ott asked for clarification on the difference between speed bumps, speed tables and speed cushions. Public works director Dwayne Allen said a speed bump is a simple, modular bump, while a speed table can be adjusted to the speed, length and height of a vehicle.

“A cushion is more like a bump,” Allen said. “It has openings in it. On a narrow street, that’s not an option.”

Council member Terry McClung said solving the speeding issue is “all about funding” and suggested that the city look for grants to pay for speeding deterrents. Council member Laura Jo Smole asked if the city could lower speed limits. Police chief Brian Young said the council can lower the speed limit on side streets but the speed limit on the highway is up to the state highway department.

Ott asked about installing photographic ticketing trailers and Young said one of those trailers would cost around $10,000. Council member Autumn Slane asked how officers patrol for speed and Young said they set up stationary radar once they finish their calls and reports.

“So it is kind of the last thing on the list,” Slane said.

“I wouldn’t want to call it the last thing on the list, but we have to prioritize calls,” Young said.

Mayor Butch Berry agreed to discuss the issue further at the next department head meeting and the council placed the item on its next agenda for discussion.

In other business, Smole declined to serve on the planning commission after being voted on at special called council meeting on May 17. Smole said she received several calls about a conflict of interest.

“I don’t want to take the appointment because … it’s going to continue to get worse for whatever council person sits in it,” Smole said.

“Because it was an important thing, I would like to see if we have a nomination for one of the council members to be on that commission,” Berry said.

Smole then nominated council member Melissa Greene for the position and the council unanimously voted to appoint Greene to the commission.

The council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, June 11, at The Auditorium.

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