Speed limit reduced in front of university

Melanie Mitchell, Staff Writer

A panel of FMU staff collaborated with the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) to lower the speed limit to 35 mph on Francis Marion Road in early February.

Chief of Campus Police Richard Austin helped on the panel of staff to lower the speed limit.

“We wanted to make that area as safe as possible for pedestrians crossing over to the new Athletic Complex across the street,” Austin said.

In addition to the reduced speed, FMU has also implemented crosswalks that connect the main campus with the Athletic Complex. Currently, there are two crosswalks being constructed that will require motorists to yield to pedestrians.

The speed reduction begins where Francis Marion Road meets East Palmetto Street and continues until approximately a mile near the FMU Center for the Child and ends before the four lane road merges to two lanes.

Prior to the speed reduction, this section of Francis Marion Road had a posted speed limit of 45 mph. To help drivers slow down, there are speed trailers, one facing drivers headed north and one for south-bound traffic. The trailers display an approaching vehicle’s current speed in an effort to remind drivers of the new, lower speed.

According to Austin, the FMU campus police have have written over 200 warning tickets in this area since the beginning of February to Feb.10.

“We wanted to give speeders going a few miles over a warning for the first two weeks,” Austin. said.

Since then, police have begun writing speeding tickets depending on each individual case.

To help spread the news of the new speed limit, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Teresa Ramey sent an e-mail to all students’ SwampFox mail informing them of this change.

Joey Skipper of the Florence branch of the SCDOT worked to complete this project.

“The speed reduction was not related to accidents in the area. We just wanted to be proactive and make it safer for the crosswalks,” Skipper said.