By Wendy Gragg
Killeen Daily Herald
In the name of safety, the city of Killeen is taking measures to slow down people leaving the airport.
At the same time, the Texas Department of Transportation is suggesting the city speed things up in the area.
Red lights will begin flashing today at the exit of the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport, reminding people to stop and look before crossing or entering State Highway 201.
Jim Butler, Killeen director of public works, said there has been a problem with drivers overlooking the first stop sign, at the airport's exit, and moving to the stop sign straight across SH 201, before heading north on the highway. Butler discussed the red lights at Tuesday night's regular meeting as the Killeen City Council entertained a proposal to increase the speed limit on SH 201.
The proposal, based on a traffic engineering study conducted by the Texas Department of Transportation, would have raised the speed limit from 45 mph to 55 mph. The higher speed limit would affect SH 201 for a stretch of 1.562 miles, running south of Stan Schlueter Loop toward the airport.
Some council members were wary of the speed limit increase.
"I think it's a safety issue," said Councilman Fred Latham.
Latham said he originally was for the speed limit increase, but he reconsidered after learning of serious accidents on that strip of road.
Councilman Dick Young, in favor of the speed increase, said SH 201 was designed to move volumes of traffic out of congested areas at a reasonable speed.
"I don't think we can regulate safe driving in all instances," he said.
Five council members, with Young and Bob Hausmann opposed, voted to table the issue and take it up again at a workshop when TxDOT representatives can be present.
At the meeting, the council also held a public hearing for residents' input on the 2006-07 budget. Don Jazskowski spoke, asking the city to consider a property tax rate freeze for residents more than 65 years old, a measure which other local taxing entities have already taken.
The city will take further comment from residents today at a town hall meeting at noon at the Fire Training Center, 207 N. 28th St. City officials seek input regarding city services to guide them as they shape the 2006-07 budget.
Contact Wendy Gragg at firstname.lastname@example.org