Pe Ell Residents Raise Traffic Speed Issues; Town Council Expresses Frustration With State Policies Impeding Action


Multiple residents complained about speeding vehicles during the Pe Ell Town Council meeting on Tuesday night. 

One resident asked if she could place signs along state Route 6 encouraging drivers to follow the speed limit, something the councilors said was OK. The councilors cautioned against placing signs on utility poles along the way because other government entities could remove them.

The request sparked a discussion among the meeting’s attendees about road safety in Pe Ell, particularly in relation to state Route 6. One person said they had recorded a loaded logging truck driving at 47 miles per hour through a part of state Route 6 used heavily by children. 

One woman, who has repeatedly yelled at vehicles speeding through Pe Ell, told the council she’s frustrated because when she yells at vehicles she’s not doing it because she’s being prudish, but because she’s worried about the safety of others.

“I’m saying it because you’re going to kill a kid,” the woman said. 

According to the councilors, while they share the concerns of their community members, the town is unable to do much about the traffic itself. Because of state Route 6’s status as a state highway, the town is unable to take unilateral actions like putting up stop signs by itself. Instead, the state would have to approve anything done to improve safety along the highway, often requiring multi-year traffic studies before action could be taken. 

One councilor mentioned a speed sign near the school in Pe Ell had to be built into city property, rather than be closer to the road, in order to avoid violating state law. 

The councilors themselves expressed their frustrations with the speeding problem.

“I’d like to take a nail strip and throw it into the road,” joked one councilor, resulting in laughter from other members of the council and many in the audience.