By a 5-1 vote, Milton Town Council approved an ordinance Aug. 7 that will reduce the speed limits on connecting streets to 15 mph.
The ordinance will go into effect Monday, Jan. 1, making the speed on smaller streets like Broad, Manship and Collins, and roads throughout Cannery Village more consistent.
The small connector streets are controlled and maintained by the town, as opposed to the main streets, which are controlled and maintained by Delaware Department of Transportation.
The ordinance was written by Mayor John Collier, who sought the measure to improve safety and create uniformity in the speed limits. Many of these streets are narrow – some only 11 feet wide – with two cars barely being able to pass one another. Some, like Broad Street, have parking on one or both sides of the street. In addition, Collier said, children play in some of the streets, raising a safety issue.
The full list of streets is Collins, Coulter, Walnut, Mill, Prettyman, Parker, Tilney, Clifton, Reed, Broad and B streets, as well as all blocks south of Wharton Street between Federal and Chestnut, which includes streets such as Manship and Sand streets. All present and future phases of Cannery Village will be 15 mph.
This was the second time the ordinance was debated by council; the first time was in July when it ended in a 3-3 vote, as then-Councilwoman Annette Babich was not present. When the ordinance came up for debate again Aug. 7, Babich had resigned her office, meaning again only six council members would decide the issue. However, Councilman Larry Savage, who had been a no vote in July, changed his vote to yes, breaking the deadlock.
Included in Collier’s presentation on the ordinance was data showing the width of the streets, as well as information from the National Association of City Transportation Officials showing the decreased risk of crashes with speed limits of 15 mph as opposed to 25 mph.
Councilwoman Randi Meredith said she spoke to officials in Seaford, which had enacted a similar ordinance and found that safety was greatly improved.
Councilwoman Lee Revis-Plank was the lone no vote, referring to it as a “tempest in a teapot,” but she was open to reducing the speed limit on Manship Street, which has a section that narrows as it comes out to Federal Street. She said the other streets have such a low volume of traffic and lack of accidents that she could not support the ordinance.
The yes votes were Collier, Meredith, Councilman Fred Harvey, Councilman Scotty Edler and Savage, who said he changed his vote after further discussion and additional information.