BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Despite previous fights to have it lowered, the speed limit along Staring Lane in Baton Rouge will increase to 40 mph starting Monday, July 10.
Former city councilman John Delgado, who fought to have the speed limit lowered, is furious. "It is going to kill someone, you can book it," said Delgado Friday.
That area's newly elected councilwoman, Barbara Freiberg, says she pushed for the increase after getting requests from residents there.
"The blood of the first dead child is on her hands," Delgado said. "This is about a politician not having a backbone and telling people that she knows it is not popular, but it's the right thing to do," Delgado said of Freiberg.
Freiberg, reached by phone Friday, declined to respond to Delgado's comment. She says she was approached by residents asking that the lower speed limit be reconsidered. She says she met with several area civic associations and did not find any objection to increasing the speed limit. The EBR metro council approved the increase earlier this year. The new 40 mph speed limit signs will be installed Monday, July 10.
"The road was never designed to be a road that was 35 mph," she said. "If it proves to be a speed limit that we find is too fast, we can change is back."
Freiberg says Delgado never contacted her with any concerns when the issue was before the metro council earlier this year.
In 2014, a group of residents in that area pushed to have the speed limit lowered from 40 to 35 mph. Delgado led the fight. At the time, some parish leaders disagreed with the move, saying the roadway had just recently been redesigned from two lanes to four and was designed for a 45 mph limit.
Delgado says he supported lowering the speed limit because the expanded roadway was so close to many of the homes along the road. The measure to lower the limit was approved by the EBR metro council. "The city-parish committed an incredible error in the way they appropriated the land to build Staring Lane," Delgado said. "They had the option to buy all the houses on one side of the road or all of the houses on the other side, but decided instead to build right down the middle. So what that means is you now have some driveways that are only 18 to 20 feet long."
Delgado says when he pushed to have the speed limit lowered, he presented a photo of a black SUV that had flipped off the roadway and landed just five feet from someone's front door.
Essen Lane turns into Staring Lane at Perkins Road. Staring stretches from Perkins Road to Highland Road.