Wichita Falls city councilors recently got together to vote on increasing the speed limit on several city streets here in town and after a long, heated debate they voted to increase the speed limit on 21 city streets – including four school zones.

The rationale used by some of those who were for increasing the speed limit was based on studies conducted by city traffic engineers to determine the average speed 85 percent of drivers were traveling in those areas. Superintendent of traffic engineering Mark Beauchamp says the reason why the they chose the 85th percentile is that’s the speed at which the average prudent driver will drive through that corridor. Miles Risley, Wichita Falls city attorney added that after the 85th percentile, the accident rate goes up.

One opponent of the speed limit increase, Wichita Falls resident John Ward pointed out that on Wellington road there’s a curve to encounter and because the road is so narrow that if it’s wet you risk running into oncoming traffic. Former WFPD chief Dennis Bachman spoke out in opposition of increasing the speed limit in school zones pointing out that he didn’t think people were inconvenienced by having to drive at a lower speed for a short distance.

Personally, I’m far from a lead-foot when it comes to driving but I do find myself at times going about 35 in most of the 30 MPH zones before I realize that I am in fact speeding and then slow down. So yeah, I don’t think a five mile-per-hour increase is that big of a deal.

Here’s a list of the affected areas:

Barnett – Southwest to Kell East / Posted 40 MPH – Raised to 45 MPH

Barnett – Bayberry to Southwest / Posted 35 MPH – Raised to 40 MPH

City View – US 287 to Airport / Posted 30 MPH – Raised to 35 MPH

City View – Airport to Kiel / Posted 40 MPH – Raised to 45 MPH

Duncan – Rosewood to Martin Luther King / Posted 30 MPH – Raised to 35 MPH

Galveston – Jacksboro Highway to E Scott / Posted 30 MPH – Raised to 35 MPH

Harding – Emanuel Davis Overpass to Linda / Posted 35 MPH – Raised to 40 MPH

Huntington – I-44 to FM 396 / Posted NONE – Raised to 50 MPH

Lake Park – Burlington to Southwest / Posted 30 MPH – Raised to 35 MPH

McNiel – Seymour Highway to Call Field / Posted 30 MPH – Raised to 35 MPH

Midwestern – Cedar Elm to Weeks Park / Posted 30 MPH – Raised to 40 MPH

Midwestern – Lake Park EB to Bluff / Posted 30 MPH – Raised to 40 MPH

Midwestern – Manor WB to Southmoor / Posted 30 MPH – Raised to 40 MPH

Parkhill – Kovarik to Seymour Highway / Posted 30 MPH – Raised to 40 MPH

Seymour Road – Indian Heights to Seymour Hwy / Posted 35 MPH – Raised to 40 MPH

Taft – Southwest to Antigua / Posted 35 MPH – Raised to 40 MPH

Wellington – US 287 to Kiel / Posted 45 MPH – Raised to 50 MPH

School Zones for City View High & Elementary – Posted 20 MPH – Raised to 25 MPH

School Zone for John Tower Elem on Missile Road – Posted 20 MPH – Raised to 25

School Zone for Jefferson Elementary on Fairway – Posted 20 MPH – Raised to 25

School Zone for Wichita Christian on Midwestern – Posted 20 MPH – Raised to 25