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Eagan lowers speed limits on Diffley Road following teen's death

The new school zone will lower speed limits from 45 to 30 miles per hour when children are present.
Credit: KARE

EAGAN, Minn. — A lower school zone speed limit is now officially posted near three Eagan schools as students return to classes in the new year.

In an email sent to parents last week, Eagan High School principal Dr. Polly Reikowski said the reduced speed signage is now in place on Diffley Road between Lexington Avenue and just east of Braddock Trail. The signs alert drivers to the new 30 MPH school zone speed limit when children are present.

"Please be aware of this as you travel on Diffley Road during schools’ arrival and departure times," Reikowski wrote. "Enforcement will be taking place."

Parents had pushed to lower the 45 MPH speed limit on Diffley Road for years, considering its proximity to three schools: Northview Elementary, Dakota Hills Middle School, and Eagan High School. Those efforts intensified following the death of 13-year-old Patric Vitek, who was struck and killed on Nov. 1 while crossing Diffley Road on his bicycle.

RELATED: Eagan student fatally struck on bicycle

Parents and neighbors soon packed into city and county government hearings to demand action. Less than a month after Vitek was killed, the Dakota County Board of Commissioners voted to establish a school zone speed limit for Diffley Road. 

RELATED: Board of Commissioners votes to set school zone speed limit on Diffley Road

Under state law, the 30 MPH reduced school zone speed limit takes effect when children are present, which includes school opening and closing hours, and in school recess periods. 

Dakota County officials told KARE 11 that dynamic signs are in the works, which will flash when children are present and tell drivers how fast they are traveling.

In her email to parents, Dr. Reikowski noted that additional changes could still be made.

"A large effort remains in process to review and consider a variety of other traffic and pedestrian/bicycle safety options for the Diffley Road and Braddock Trail areas, as well as on our campus properties," Reikowski said.

Several short and long-range ideas were shared at a pair of open houses in December, and have been posted on the Dakota County website.

"The combined working group including the school district, county, city and state representative leaders will continue to work on this and other ideas for changes/improvements," Reikowski said in her email, noting there would be additional opportunities for the public and students to provide comment and feedback.

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