Bee Cave revisits reduction of speed limits on state roads within city

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A little over two months ago, a resolution failed.

On June 11, with the adjustment of a couple of words, Bee Cave City Council passed a similar resolution containing two facets—one requesting a traffic survey and speed limit study from the Texas Department of Transportation and the other lowering the speed limit on all state roads within the city to 50 mph.

On March 26, a near identical resolution failed on a 3-3 vote in part because of the wording. That resolution requested a new maximum speed of “no more than” 50 mph on the state road system within city limits.

At that time, City Council Member Jon Cobb said one of the reasons he could not vote yes was because of the open-ended language possibly allowing for even lower speed limits.

The new language specifies the limit would be 50 mph.

“I think that changed the feeling of certain council members, No. 1, and No. 2, we have a new council now,” Mayor Monty Parker said regarding the reintroduction of the resolution and Andrea Willott’s addition to City Council in May.

Council clarified that the lowered speed limit would not immediately go into effect until TxDOT conducts its study and finds proper rationale to do so.

Both Cobb and Mayor Pro Tem Bill Goodwin were “no” votes on the resolution, though it still passed 3-2.

Mayor Monty Parker and Police Chief Gary Miller endorsed the legislation the first time around. Miller issued a statement prior to the March 26 meeting stating his support for lowered speed limits on state roads within the city.

“Approximately 70% of our public highway accidents occur on [Hwy.] 71 in our city limits,” Miller said. “Of the 268 total accidents in 2018, approximately 185 occurred on Hwy. 71.”

A reduction of 5 mph from 55 to 50 mph can reduce stopping distance, which is on average 60 feet, and lower the likelihood of injuries from an accident, Miller said.

There are four main state highways that run through Bee Cave: Hwy. 71; FM 2244, or Bee Caves Road; RM 620; and FM 3238, or Hamilton Pool Road.

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  1. Any initiative that blindly reduces all speed limits on all state roads within city limits, regardless of traffic patterns or the nature of the road, is overbroad and should be rejected. On the other hand, if they want to have qualified traffic engineers assess particular stretches of road and consider changes to speed limits on those stretches, that could make sense. This should be done the right way.

  2. I think it is more likely that 70% of accidents happen on 71 is because 70% of the traffic volume that goes through Bee Caves is on 71. Miller implies that it is because of a speed limit that is too high.

  3. 50 mph is way too fast. Either make 71, 620, and Hamilton Pool divided highways with center medians and restricted turn lanes or drop the speed limits to 35 mph. Enough people have died. You are not entitled to drive in a manner that, due mostly to outdated roadway designs, endangers lives.

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Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018.
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