Despite a petition from residents and a request from the city of Beaufort, state officials will not reduce the speed limit on Pigeon Point Road to 25 mph.
The S.C. Department of Transportation studied traffic on the road after receiving a request to lower the limit from 30 mph. It found 85 percent of drivers traveled at 32.74 mph, "which tells us the 30 mph is a good speed limit" and that drivers are comfortable going that speed, DOT's Mark Nesbit said.
"A situation like this, if you lower it, you're going to end up getting more people exceeding the limit, and to us that's more dangerous," he said.
Twenty-seven percent of drivers exceed the speed limit, according to the study. Only one accident has been recorded during the past three years, and it was because the driver was going too fast for conditions, Nesbit said.
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Typically, the state does not lower a speed limit unless there are numerous accidents or obstacles along the road, such as trees, he said.
Hugh and Connie Folk live down the street from Pigeon Point Park and helped gather signatures for the petition by the Pigeon Point Neighborhood Crime Watch. Hugh Folk said he sees cars speed down the road and worries about one hitting a child riding a bike across the street. Most speeding seems to be on the weekends or at night, he said.
Even though the speed limit won't change, the couple are glad the state took the request seriously. The neighborhood association raised $11,000 and plans to install a fence between the park and the road.
"I was pleased they checked it out and did not just ignore it," Connie Folk said.
Darrell Crouse of Port Royal brought his 8-year-old granddaughter, Hayle Grabenbauer, to play at Pigeon Point Park on Thursday afternoon. He grew up in a house beside the park, where his parents still live.
Crouse said he drove 25 mph down Pigeon Point Road. If the city and neighborhood want a lower speed limit, he doesn't see why the state should deny the request.
"The neighborhood is pretty conscious of the kids," he said. "I think it's still one of the better neighborhoods."
Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling is encouraging everyone who supports a lower speed limit to contact their state representatives and ask for their help.