Clinton boosters hope signs will slow traffic
By JUSTIN BURNETT
South Whidbey Record Island County
August 28, 2012 · Updated 2:30 PM
Safety concerns and hopes of economic development may lead to few new speed limit signs in Clinton.
The Port of South Whidbey and the Clinton Chamber of Commerce are partnering to secure grant funding that would pay for the installation of two electronic speed limit signs on Highway 525 in Clinton.
Their exact placement hasn’t been hammered out yet but the idea is that they may help to slow the never-ending flood of ferry traffic that speeds through the small community every half hour.
The speed limit on the highway between the dock and Dairy Queen is 30 mph but it’s often ignored. Those getting off the ferry and heading up the hill are particularly bad, especially if motorists have been sitting at the light, said Bruce Didier, owner of Anchor Books and Coffee and the vice president of the Clinton chamber.
“It’s like it’s off to the races,” Didier said.
Electronic speed limit signs may help slow people down a bit and improve safety but may also have the added benefit of getting people to notice Clinton businesses. They may just pull over and spend some money, said Curt Gordon, a commissioner with the Port of South Whidbey.
“This is a win/win deal,” Gordon said.
Electronic speed limit signs are effective at getting people to slow down but they are expensive. Gordon said his research indicates that two could cost as much as $15,000, including installation.
The hope is to acquire most of the funding through the area’s Region Transportation and Planning Organization. Made up of voluntary associations of governments within one or more counties, representatives work to coordinate transportation needs.
Gordon, a member of the group that serves Island County, said if funding is acquired it will require a 13.5 percent match. That money, about $2,000, might be split between the port and chamber, he said.
Gordon said they should know if the request is approved by this fall. If it is, the signs will be installed sometime early next year or earlier.
Contact South Whidbey Record Island County Justin Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.