Speed limits could drop in Montgomery Co.

WASHINGTON — Montgomery County residents can weigh in this week on bills that would drop speed limits on certain county roads.

Montgomery County Council member Hans Riemer has been working with several state delegates from the county to introduce legislation during the 2017 General Assembly session.

Public hearings are scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday and Wednesday to get community feedback on various bills, but Riemer told WTOP he believes Wednesday is the night to weigh in on the speed limit bills.

One bill would drop the top speed on county roads with no posted limits from 30 to 25 miles per hour. The second would allow 20 miles per hour to be the lowest possible speed limit in Montgomery County. If this bill passes, it would not mean an automatic speed limit decrease on county roads.

“When I had originally proposed it, I had just requested that here be no particular floor and that we should just be allowed to set the county road speeds at whatever we would like,” Riemer said. “However after some negotiations, we came to agreement that we would just set a new floor of 20, rather than 25, which is the current floor.”

“If this legislation passes, then in neighborhoods where we’re having safety concerns, the community could work with the department of transportation,” he added.

“They would do a traffic study and then proceed, if they’re in agreement, to lower the speed limit to 20, which I think is a much more reasonable speed for your kind of residential neighborhood.”

The Montgomery County Police Department had reservations about the bills because they hadn’t had a chance to discuss concerns with the bill’s sponsors.

In the past few days, Capt. Thomas Didone, director of traffic with Montgomery County police, spoke with the sponsors and said the department is now on board with the two proposals.

“Both maintain the effective use of speed studies to determine the speed limit,” Didone said. “The proven test of science is the way we should proceed and these speed studies are really important.”

Riemer was working with delegates on a third proposal, as well, that would have reduced speed limits within a certain radius of elementary, middle and high schools in the county.

“We’ll take another look at that one for later on in the session or for next year, but for now, we’re proceeding with the first two. We’re going to modify them and move forward,” he said,

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