Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Garth Meyer
Gazette Reporter 

Speed limit dropped to 25 mph at Palouse


October 11, 2018

A Highway 27 speed limit at the south end of Palouse is back to 25 miles per hour, three years after adjacent neighbors first requested a reduction, only to see the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) raise the speed limit instead.

The new limit of 25 mph will be set from the south end of Palouse out to milepost 14.54, after Mayor Michael Echanove received an e-mail from WSDOT saying the request to drop it to 25 from 45 was finally approved.

“We did everything on the checklist and sent it off, two years ago,” said Echanove.

When neighbors John and Chris Bofenkamp initially came to the Palouse city council in 2015, the council agreed that the speed should be lowered from 35 mph to 25 mph. WSDOT was contacted, they came out, did a study and raised it to 45, due to a 1983 Palouse ordinance which designated the speed.

In 2016 signs went up showing 45 mph.

The Bofenkamps, still saying it should be 25, kept at it and Echanove made an official request two years ago to drop the speed limit and later the city council voted to change the 1983 ordinance to state 25 instead of 45.

With the request made and the ordinance changed, Echanove, the council and the Bofenkamps waited.

Then the e-mail arrived in September. Signs will go up after final approval from WSDOT headquarters’ traffic department and a public notice goes out.

In total, four new signs will be installed, two will be removed and one relocated. The signs state the speed limit with “Speed Reduction Ahead ” to advise drivers approaching the zones.

“There you go, (the Bofenkamps) came to city hall with their concerns, the council agreed to take up the case, it took awhile, but look what popped out,” said Echanove.

As far as car accidents on this stretch of Highway 27, it has not been an issue, with none logged in the past 10 years.

The new Palouse traffic ordinance allowed WSDOT to act.

“It gave them a better place to stand on,” said Glen Wagemann, traffic engineer for WSDOT.

A city has the right to set speed limits within city limits with concurrence from WSDOT.

Now drivers will need to slow down on the south approach to Palouse.

“Placing a sign to change a speed limit doesn’t necessarily change the behavior,” Wagemann commented.


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