DRIPPING SPRINGS (KXAN) - Update: Hays county commissioner Ray Whisenant says they county commission will request the speed be lowered from 65 to 55.
" Speed on a U. S. highway is a coordinated product between USDOT and TxDOT. They consider road design and traffic use at posted speed limits as a percentile of average speed. The County or a Municipality can make a request to lower a speed limit in their jurisdiction in given areas, but the determination is usually made with regard to the above factors. The County's involvement on 290 west of Dripping Springs will probably be coordinated with the City of Dripping Springs to extend the 55 MPH speed limit to the McGregor Lane intersection at U. S. 290. "
After two deadly crashes in about a month, a petition was started Tuesday by neighbors seeking to make a stretch of U.S Highway 290 west of Austin safer.
Nearly 400 people have signed on, requesting Texas Department of Transportation do a comprehensive study to consider speed, stop lights and traffic flow on the highway through Dripping Springs.
"I just signed the petition," said resident Robin Perras. "We have had too many deaths, too many neighbors, too many close friends."
When teaching her own children to drive, Perras says she has been telling them green means wait, not go. She has seen too many cars and trucks run red lights at the Belterra Drive traffic signal where four people died last month.
As soon as drivers hit Hays County the speed limit increases from 60 to 65 mph. It's been that way for many years and residents say it has to change.
Perras says the speed was fine before so much development came along.
"The whole area used to be fine," she said. "But (there are) so many neighborhoods, so many businesses now...there's right turns, left turns. It's 65 and it's just not safe."
Stacey Napier started the petition after several complaints were filed with TxDOT by other Dripping Springs neighbors.
In a statement given to KXAN, TxDOT said they did a speed study in June 2012. At the time, TxDOT investigators determined 65 mph to be what they call a "prudent and reasonable" speed for the section of the highway.
Napier disagrees with that study.
"I think they need to hear from the people who drive that road every day," she said. "Those of us that live on that stretch of highway respectfully disagree with them that it is safe."
According to TxDOT records, 13 people died on that stretch of road in the past five years and there have been more than 550 crashes in the same time frame.
Those numbers are exactly why Napier, and more than 300 other people, think something needs to change.
"I think it would be great to find out if the accidents had anything to do with the lights, with the speed," she said. "I really think a whole review of the safety of that area is most important right now."
The residents will be able to meet with TxDOT in December.
The stretch of U.S. 290 from the Hays County line to the Y at Oak Hill was reduced to 60 mph after similar complaints and a TxDOT investigation determined the speed needed to be reduced for safety.
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