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St. Peters may opt for further reminders to park users about restrictions

St. Peters officials may consider additional signage at some city parks not only to remind park users about speed limits but about restrictions that prohibit parking on the grass and pet owners from letting their dogs be unleashed.

The city’s Board of Aldermen is directing police and parks officials to develop “friendly reminder” signs or other ways to inform parks users that may be used on a temporary basis.  In a voice vote that their Oct. 26 work session, aldermen approved giving city Police Chief Jeff Finkelstein and Jeff Hustler, city parks manager, the discretion to work out the sign language and how they would be used.

Alderman Michael A. Shea [Ward 3] suggested the signage saying residents at ward meetings expressed worries about excessive driving speeds, particularly in Woodland Park.  Shea noted that there are also cases where people are parking on the grass and pet owners are allowing their dogs to roam unleashed.

“We have a dog park if they [park goers] want to let them run loose,” Shea told aldermen, referring to the city’s fenced dog park facility at Lakeside 370 Park off Route 370.

“It’s a good idea,” said Alderman Patrick Barclay [Ward 4].  But Barclay said while he had no problems with it may be a little “overboard” to discuss it at an aldermanic work session when it could be handled administratively.

Aldermen Judy Bateman [Ward 2] disagreed saying work sessions were a venue where aldermen discuss city business openly.  She said the signs could let people kn0wa reminder that they can’t let dogs run free and not clean up after them.  It’s also a measure that would not be that expensive to the city, she added.

Alderman Rocky Reitmeyer [Ward 1] said the signs are a reminder that vehicles also cannot be parked on the park grounds. The day after an event at a park that draws crowds aldermen tend to receive calls from park users asking why their vehicles were ticketed for parking on the park grounds, he said.

Shea said his idea is that the signs could be used temporarily with the idea of “calming” traffic.  Vehicle traffic traveling at higher speeds is inherently dangerous given the nature of the parks in the city, he added.

The signage follows on the heels of an ordinance passed on Sept. 28 that formally sets the speed limit in 12 city parks at 15 mph and adds language that requires motorists to obey traffic signs and regulations.  The vote was 7-0 with Alderman David Thomas [Ward 1] absent.

The ordinance came about after Aldermen Jerry Hollingsworth [Ward 2] told aldermen in August that while the city has posted speed limits and traffic regulation signs at city parks, it lacks the authority to enforce them.  Hollingsworth said the city hadn’t approved an ordinance that establishes that authority.

Hollingsworth said he and Bateman have received a number of complaints about speeding traffic in Woodland Sports Park but the city cannot ticket violators.  “We cannot enforce the ordinance because we don’t have an ordinance,” Hollingsworth said.

Hollingsworth added that he and Bateman had a particular issue with traffic exiting the park at a high rate of speed at youth ballgames.

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