The town of Clayton has formally requested that the N.C. Department of Transportation lower the speed limit along a portion of Vinson Road near Powhatan Elementary School from 35 mph to 25 mph. A change like that makes a lot of sense, even if it is a bit aggravating for drivers.
Just a few miles per hour difference could help drivers avoid an accident in a place where pedestrian traffic is likely to be higher and large volumes of traffic congregate during specific hours like drop off and pick up times.
Fortunately, there’s already a precedent for such a change in Clayton. Speed limits along a portion of O’Neal Street are 25 mph near Cooper Elementary School. Aggressive law enforcement in that zone has also helped ensure that motorists will obey the lower speed limits. The town has also aggressively enforced the existing speed limit along Glen Laurel Road and Vinson Road near Powhatan and that has apparently helped alleviate some of the problem with drivers zipping through the area like their hair was on fire.
No one wants a wreck of any kind anywhere. School zones can be even trickier places to avoid them.
DOT, for its part, should welcome a request to slow traffic in a school zone because safety has always been a top priority for that agency.
With Clayton’s request, it’s likely DOT will take time to study traffic flow and volume through the area, so parents hoping for a slower speed limit near the school may have a wait ahead of them.
But the idea has merit and DOT should not delay a decision.