Minden may get to set own speed limits | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Minden may get to set own speed limits

by Kurt Hildebrand
The view from Gardnerville into Minden on Wildrose Drive showing the difference in speed limits between the two towns. Residents in Minden asked the town board to install additional stop signs or lower the speed to 15 mph on their section of Wildrose.
Kurt Hildebrand |

Telling Minden residents of Wildrose and Deseret drives that the speed limits in their streets should be left to the town, county commissioners continued two items that would have lowered the speed limits on those streets and placed additional stop signs.

Under county code, the speed limits in the town are required to be 25 mph. Minden is the only town or district specifically mentioned in the code.

Commissioner Greg Lynn said he felt the solution was to turn control back to the town board.

“We should repeal ordinance and give control of streets of Minden back to the people of Minden,” he said. “Genoa and Gardnerville are not listed in the code. We don’t tell the towns how to manage their affairs.”

Minden has been working on reducing the speed limit on the two streets since residents came to the town board, saying there was too much traffic.

About a dozen residents of the streets attended Thursday’s commission meeting.

Town Manager Jenifer Davidson said town staff suspects the neighborhood has become a bypass for those motorists unwilling to make a left turn onto Highway 395.

Wildrose and Deseret connect to Douglas Avenue in Gardnerville via Spruce Street. In Gardnerville, the speed limit is 15 mph. Drivers using the route tend to turn right on Second Street in Minden and then on to County Road.

“We all know how hard it is to make left-hand turn movements onto 395,” she said. “We suspect Wildrose and Douglas Avenue are being used as a bypass.”

The town installed radar signs in mid-April on Wildrose to measure speeds and the number of vehicles using the street.

While Douglas Avenue and Wildrose are of similar widths, there are no sidewalks on Wildrose and residents must go into the street to get around cars parked there.

“Residents don’t feel safe walking down the street,” she said. “Minden is the only town listed in the ordinance.”

Commissioners decided not to go forward with an ordinance change that would allow the town to lower the speed limits on the specific streets and a resolution to place stop signs at the intersection.

“There’s only half a mile of two streets that are dead-ends on either end, Commissioner Barry Penzel said. “This doesn’t rise to the level of huge in my mind. If residents want to have 15 or 10 or 5 mph speed limit, then have at it.”

Lynn said he used to use the Douglas Avenue-Wildrose route to avoid Highway 395.

“I used to routinely use it as shortcut from Gardnerville to Minden,” he said. “I stopped because it was more trouble to do that, then to turn left onto 395.”

Residents agreed with the proposal to move authority for the speed limits and stop signs to the town.

“This is a great discussion,” resident John Hamer said. “I just hope you don’t change your minds in 30 days. Government closest to people makes best decisions for the people.”

Craig Chambers, who has lived on Wildrose for 44 years, said he liked what commissioners were trying to do.

“We need to get people back on the highway and slow them down on residential streets,” he said.

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