Shown above, the streets highlighted in red will be the streets that will have a new speed limit of 20 miles per hour. The roads were going to change in January, but potholes and poor weather pushed the change from 30 miles per hour to this week. DN GRAPHIC RACHEL BRAMMER
Campus speed limits change to 20 mph
All the major campus roads, including McKinley Avenue, Neely Avenue, Riverside Avenue, University Avenue and Talley Avenue now have a speed limit of 20 miles per hour, a change from their previous 30 miles per hour speed limit.
Although Muncie and Ball State officials made the decision for a speed limit reduction for roads around campus in January, potholes and poor weather pushed back the change until this week.
Duke Campbell, the superintendent for the Muncie Department of Public Works, said that the Muncie street department has been overwhelmed for the past few months.
"In the spring time, at the street department, what people don't understand is we have 15 people here," Campbell said. "We have three mechanics, two signal technicians who are busy all the time, we have two sign technicians, … but when we have any kind of weather event, we have to use everybody on the roads."
The recent snowy weather only delayed the street department further. Campbell said that conditions were poor enough on Saturday to send out people to plow and salt the roads.
Campbell said that the department has to choose their priorities, and fixing potholes is their No. 1.
"We have to put something in the potholes, even if it's temporary," he said. "We get a lot more done when the weather gets dry. Then we don't have to keep going back to the same old potholes. It's just the way it is."
Jim Lowe, Ball State’s associate vice president for Facilities Planning and Management, originally brought the idea for reducing the speed limits to the city of Muncie, along with his team.
While he originally thought the process of putting up new street signs would take only two to three weeks, he said he wasn't surprised by the street department's delay.
"I know that the street superintendent has been busy. It's just a case of being patient," Lowe said. "There are a lot of locations on campus that don't even have [speed limit] signs yet. They might still have to make those."
Campbell said that with only 15 people working with him, it's hard to get things done in a timely matter.
"The expectations from [Lowe] might have been a little high, but I don't want to fault him for that. It was just a matter of man power here and trying to get it done," Campbell said. "It's just tough. And when people take days off it's tough. Every person is valuable."
Even though the speed limits are lower now, the changes may not be permanent. There will be a 90-day trial period before the Muncie City Council makes its final decision on whether the new regulations are permanent or not.