Safety first: Elizabethtown considers lowering speed limit to accommodate wheelchairs

By: Chrysta Carroll - Bladen Journal

ELIZABETHTOWN — Wheelchair users are now on the radar of the Elizabethtown Town Council.

Recently, the board was approached by Kelly Robeson, director of Bladen County Division on Aging, who requested the town consider reducing the speed limit on McLeod Street.

“As you know, unless it’s otherwise posted, the speed limit (in town) is 35,” Robeson told board members. “Unfortunately, people come out of the apartment complexes at the end of McLeod Street (driving fast), and I feel like it would be proactive to lower the speed limit and put speed bumps on the street.”

When the council met earlier in the day for their planning session, council members heard from staff about the current dangerous situation on the street. Mayor Sylvia Campbell explained elderly or disabled residents often travel the road in their wheelchairs at all times of the day and are often difficult to spot.

“I know most of you have seen wheelchairs throughout town,” Campbell offered. “I came through there one evening and just hit a dark spot, and I almost didn’t see someone in a wheelchair. It’s so dangerous when there are no lights on the chairs.”

Council members talked about requiring wheelchair-bound travelers to have lights on their chairs, and Police Chief Tony Parrish offered to go out to the area and talk with residents about getting them. At that point, however, Councilman Dicky Glenn posited an alternative.

“I know a lot of people don’t have money, so how about instead of requiring them to get lights, we furnish them with stickers they can put on their wheelchairs?” he asked.

When a question was raised about whether people would use them, Councilman Howell Clark speculated they would, based on his experience.

“I know I gave a guy a vest — it cost me $18 — and he wears it every single day,” he commented.

While no one knew the cost of stickers, council seemed to like the idea.

“Whatever the cost … it’s worth it,” Campbell said, adding she thought there were only two or three people to which it would apply.

At the evening session, board members agreed — with the approval of Parrish — to draft an ordinance lowering the speed limit to 20 mph. The document will be prepared, and the council will re-address the issue at its December meeting.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing×682.jpg

Chrysta Carroll

Bladen Journal