Sharon Huddleston works at a State Farm insurance office along the stretch of Old Jacksonville Highway slated for a reduction in the speed limit from 55 mph to 50 mph.
Tyler City Council’s unanimous vote to enact the measure on Wednesday was news to Ms. Huddleston. They approved lowering the speed limit from just south of Rice Road south to Dueling Oaks Drive on Old Jacksonville, at the southern limits of the city of Tyler. The Texas Department of Transportation will be placing the appropriate signs along the 2-mile stretch of the road very soon now that the city council has approved the measure, Traffic Engineer Peter Eng said.
“I think it’s a good thing if it will save lives — in our business we like to see this,” Ms. Huddleston said with a laugh. She was unsure if people would actually follow the reduced speed.
“People usually get in a hurry and don’t pay attention to the speed limit,” Ms. Huddleston said.
Lauren Phillips, who works next door at Progress Cleaners, agreed with the decision to reduce the speed limit.
“It’s probably a good idea, although I don’t see a lot of wrecks out there,” she said. Ms. Phillips added that she usually sees a Tyler Police officer stationed along that stretch of Old Jacksonville.
Eng said the change was needed because of an increase in traffic, accidents and new development in the area.
“Homeowners have requested this lower speed for a long time,” District 1 Councilmember Sam Mezayek said.
The city council unanimously approved an $803,000 contract with Wisenbaker Fix & Associates for the construction phase for the Lake Tyler dam repair project.
“This project will go 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the duration,” Tyler Managing Director for Utilities Greg Morgan said, describing it as a major undertaking and a complicated process.
The project will be bid in February and construction is anticipated to begin in March 2014, he said. Construction should be complete in fall 2014.
“The design is intricate — there will be a mixing trench (for the dam) 50 to 60 feet into the ground,” Morgan told the city council.
Also, college students will get a break on the cost of getting around town after the city council approved a price reduction for their bus passes from $60 to $50 per spring and fall semester. A summer pass would cost $40.
The city conducted a pilot bus pass program with Tyler Junior College this spring and the number of passes sold during that time increased by 800 percent, Transit Director Barbara Holly said. About 200 college students currently use the program, Ms. Holly said.
The council also approved the creation of an Animal Care Advisory Board, which will have seven members to include a licensed veterinarian, one municipal official, one person whose duties include the operation of an animal shelter and one representative from an animal welfare organization.
The Animal Care Board will make recommendations to the city council and city staff regarding state law responsibilities, operation of the animal shelter, and animal welfare in the community.
Finally, the council approved recommendations from the city’s Affordable Housing Task Force, which began meeting in April to examine how the city can partner with the private sector to create more affordable housing opportunities.
Some of those recommendations include waiving all city development fees for affordable housing in the north end revitalization area, and removing the requirement of curb, gutter and sidewalk improvements or escrow for infill affordable housing in the north end.