SPI mulls speed limit reduction

South Padre Island City Council is considering changing the speed limit on the north end of the Island, just after Kings Court Drive from 40 to 35 miles per hour. By Alana Hernandez/Valley Morning Star

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — City officials are looking into speed limits in this area that’s currently undergoing construction and is often frequented by motorists and pedestrians.

During a meeting held Wednesday, the South Padre Island City Council discussed reducing the speed limit on the north end of the Island from 40 to 35 miles per hour to increase safety for pedestrians.

The speed limit changes from 35 to 40 for motorists heading north on Padre Boulevard toward the Convention Centre just after passing Kings Court Drive.

City Manager Randy Smith presented the idea to city council during the meeting.

“The north end is getting more popular. The medians are moving up,” Smith said. “We’re trying to cross people safely.”

According to a city agenda request form, as approved by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the city will be placing yellow “recommended” speed limit signs on the north end of the Island this fall as part of the city’s PR 100 Median project.

The project began in January of this year to improve traffic and pedestrian mobility along Padre Boulevard. It’s part of the city’s Venue Tax Project that was approved by voters on Nov. 8, 2016 and is funded through the Venue Tax Fund.

The agenda request form states that the signs will have a recommended speed limit of 35 miles an hour.

“We all know the procedures that we have to go through,” Smith said during the meeting. “It doesn’t happen overnight, but I just wanted to see if we wanted to get some energy behind it so we could start the process with our partners that we need to.”

The city council voted in favor of authorizing staff to work with TxDOT to eventually lower the speed limit permanently in the area to increase pedestrian safety.

“I know with the pandemic, things have slowed down some, but we’re going to be open again in the future,” Smith said. “Events are going to go on and people are parking and crossing the street. There’s a lot of that happening and as it gets more and more populated, and with our trails and everything going on.”

According to the agenda request form, a traffic study will need to be conducted once the lights, signs and crosswalks are completed in that area.

ahernandez@valleystar.com