QUESTION: The speed limit on the newly widened, four-laned strip of Staring Lane between Highland Road and Perkins Road is 35 mph. Why isn’t it at least 40? And why is the two-lane strip of Highland Road from before Staring all the way to University Acres 45 mph, as is the area of Stanford from the College Lakes to Perkins Road, when both Highland and Stanford are residential and heavily traveled? Doesn’t make sense.

ANSWER: There was a bit of a difference among city officials on this issue.

Ingolf A. Partenheimer, the city-parish’s chief traffic engineer says, “The speed limit on Staring Lane was determined by the Metro Council to be 35 mph at the request of Councilman John Delgado. The council reserves the right to determine the speed limits as recommended by the traffic engineer. In this case, the only one I am aware of, the Metro Council did not agree with the traffic engineer’s recommendation of 40 mph.”

The other speed limits, Partenheimer said, were set using national standards. “Note: Central Thruway speed limit was recently increased to 55 mph.”

We asked Delgado about Staring’s 35 mph speed limit, which he said is a matter of safety on a road that still has about 50 homes along its route.

Delgado also mentioned that when the project was in its initial phase, at a time when he was not on the Metro Council, a decision was made to purchase property from homeowners on both sides of the road, rather than completely buying out one side.

The result, Delgado said: “Some of the properties are sitting 15 to 20 feet from the highway.”

May I pick up railroad ties?

QUESTION: Is it legal for citizens to pick up old railroad ties that have been removed and just stored along the railroad right of way. I could use a dozen or so just as elevated beds for gardening but don’t want to get arrested.

ANSWER: The short answer is: no.

C. Doniele Carlson, a spokesperson for Kansas City Southern, tells us the company is often asked whether ties are available to residents or groups for various projects.

“KCSR does not sell or donate used ties. New ties are for railroad construction projects. The railroad right of way is private property. Coming onto the railroad right of way without written authorization is trespassing and is very dangerous. Railroad ties, whether new or used, are also private property. Removing ties from railroad right of way is theft.

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